Spring has finally sprung (unless you live in Rochester, of course) and what better way to celebrate it than a New Year’s party? That’s right, New Year’s in March – well, Persian New Year, that is. Noruz takes place on the first day of spring and is an eventful holiday filled with traditions like jumping over fire and more importantly, tons of mouthwatering food. One of the best perks of being Persian is our innate inability to get together without sharing an insane amount of food. If you’ve never tried Persian food you have definitely been missing out. Here are some Noruz traditions and Persian dishes that you need to try ASAP.
In Farsi, Haft means seven and Sin means the letter ‘s’, translating to “The seven S’s.” During Noruz it is tradition to set up a table with seven symbolic foods that start with the letter “s.” These items usually include vinegar (serkeh), sumac berries (somar), garlic (sir), apples (sib), wheat, barley or lentil sprouts (sabzeh), wheat pudding (samanu) and dried oleaster berries (senjed).
When I watch people eat Ghormeh Sabzi for the first time I usually say, “Alright, I know it looks like swamp water, but I swear it’s amazing.” As soon as you get past the not-so-appetizing look of this dish, you’ll be shoveling it in by the spoonful. One of the most popular Persian dishes, Ghormeh Sabzi which means “stewed greens,” is made with spinach, parsley, leeks, fenugreek, coriander, dried lemon and lamb or beef. Like most Persian foods, this stew is served over rice.
Most people have a sweet tooth and spend a meal looking forward to dessert. I, on the other hand, am always the person at the table waiting for the rice to come out. A huge plate of rice will most certainly be found on any Persian dinner table, most importantly alongside the tadeeg. Literally translating to “bottom of the pot,” tadeeg is burnt rice seasoned with saffron. It adds the perfect crispy quality to any Persian stew. I’m notorious for sneaking extra pieces of this crunchy dish onto my plate at the dinner table because it is just that addicting.