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A few days prior to the New Year, a special cover is spread on to the Persian carpet or on a table in every Persian household. This ceremonial table is called cloth of seven dishes, (each one beginning with the Persian letter cinn). The number seven has been sacred in Iran since the ancient times, and the seven dishes stand for the seven angelic heralds of life-rebirth, health, happiness, prosperity, joy, patience, and beauty.
The symbolic dishes consist of -
Sabzeh or sprouts, usually wheat or lentil representing rebirth.
Samanu is a pudding in which common wheat sprouts are transformed and given new life as a sweet, creamy pudding and represents the ultimate sophistication of Persian cooking.
Seeb means apple and represents health and beauty.
Senjed the sweet, dry fruit of the Lotus tree, represents love. It has been said that when lotus tree is in full bloom, its fragrance and its fruit make people fall in love and become oblivious to all else.
Seer which is garlic in Persian, represents medicine.
Somaq sumac berries, represent the color of sunrise; with the appearance of the sun Good conquers Evil.
Serkeh or vinegar, represents age and patience.
125 g (1/4 lb) pearl barley
750 g (1.5 lb) fresh herhs, equal portions of parsley,
spinach, chive, dill and coriander
125 g (1/4 lb) garbanzo beans
125 g (1/4 lb) read kidney beans
125 g (1/4 lb) lentils
1/4 cup white rice
3 to 4 medium onions
2 cups kashk It is available in middle eastern grocery stores. It can be substituted by sour cream.
1 tbs dried mint
1 tsp tumeric
salt and pepper
Soak all beans together for several hours, preferably overnight. Soak rice and barley together for several hours, preferably overnight. Cook the beans with enough water to cover for an hour over low heat. Then add rice and barley. Stir occasionally. Clean the herbs removing coarse stems, wash, dry and chop finely. Add the herbs after 1/2 hour and continue to cook over low heat. Don't forget to stir occasionally. Simmer for a further 2 to 3 hours until all ingredients are tender and well blended. The outcome should be thick and not watery. Remove from heat, add kashk keeping one tbs for garnish, salt and pepper and stir. Dish up into a serving dish. lice the onions and fry in a little oil until it turns golden brown. Add mint and tumeric and stir. Garnish the soup with kashk and the fried onion.
Baghali Polow Ingredients 500 g (1 lb) Basmati long grain rice 500 g (1 lb) meat or chicken 375 g (12 oz) dill 150 g (5 oz) dried lima beans (or a 16 oz can) 1 medium onion 1/3 cup oil 1/4 tsp ground saffron salt and pepper Directions After washing the rice thoroughly, soak the rice in salted lukewarm water to cover by 2 inches for 3 to 4 hours. Trim the meat of all fat, cut into small pieces (2 inch cubes), wash and drain. Slice the onion and fry in a little oil until it turns golden brown. Add the meat, salt and pepper and cook over low heat until the meat is well done, 45 minutes to an hour. Clean and wash the dill cutting out coarse stems, dry and chop finely. If you use dried beans, then cook them until they are soft. In a large saucepan, bring 8 to 12 cups of water to a rapid boil. Pour off excess water from rice and pour into boiling water. Bring back to boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Test to see if the rice is ready. The grains should be firm in the center and rather soft on the outside. Add the beans right before you strain the rice. Strain and rinse with lukewarm water. Toss gently in the strainer. Bring 1/4 cup water and 2 to 3 tbs oil to rapid boil. Add layers of rice and dill interchangeably and pieces of the meat randomly while building the rice and dill layers up to a dome shape. Poke 5 or 6 holes through the rice to the bottom with the handle of a spoon. Close the lid. Keep on medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes until rice is steaming. Heat up 1/4 cup of water and 2 tbs oil and pour over the rice. Wrap the saucepan lid in a clean tablecloth and cover the pan firmly. Reduce heat to low and cook for 45 minutes to an hour. After removing from heat, place the saucepan in the sink and run cold water under it to cool down. Add 1/4 tsp saffron to 1 tbs hot water. Lightly mix 2 to 3 tbs of rice with the liquid saffron in a small bowl. Set it aside for garnish. To dish up, gently toss the rice and sprinkle lightly in a dish in a symmetrical mound. Garnish with the saffron rice. Remove the crusty bottom and serve in a separate plate.
Khoreshte Ghormeh Sabzi
120g (4 oz) red kidney or blackeyed beans
30g (l oz) fresh fenugreek or 2 tablespoons dried
150g (5 oz) parsley
l00 g (4 oz) coriander or parsley
180g (6 oz) spring onions or leeks
30g (l oz) dill (optional)
360g (12 oz) boned leg of lamb
1 medium onion
2 tablespoons dried lime powder
4 whole dried limes & salt
If using red kidney beans, leave to soak for several hours, preferably overnight. Then boil fast for ten minutes, drain and rinse well, Put to one side. Clean and wash the herbs, removing coarse stems, drain and shake dry. Chop finely. Fry the herbs (sprinkling in the crushed dried fenugreek leaf if using) in a little oil over a moderate heat, turning constantly, adding more oil when necessary until the herbs begin to darken (about 30-40 minutes). Remove from heat and keep on one side.
Trim and cut the meat into large pieces, 6-7 cm (21/2 in), wash and leave to soak while you slice and fry the onion until soft and golden. Add the drained meat and brown well on all sides. Stir in the herbs. Add the beans, lime powder and enough water to cover. Cover the pan and simmer gently for an hour.
Pierce the dried limes in several places with a sharp knife and add along with the dried lime powder and salt. Simmer gently for a further hour or until the meat and beans are tender and the whole sauce well blended. Add lemon juice to taste. Dish up into a warm serving dish and serve with white rice.
Dolmeye Barge Mo
250 g (.5 lb) fresh vine leaves (or preserved)
250 g (.5 lb) ground meat
250 g (.5 lb) fresh herbs, equal portions of parsley, chive, mint, dill, scallion and tarragon
1/2 cup white rice
1 medium onion
4 tbs lime juice or vinegar
2 tbs sugar
1 tbs tomato paste
3 tbs oil salt and pepper
Slice the onion and fry in a little oil until it turns golden brown. Add the meat and stir fry until brown. Add tomato paste, salt and pepper, 1 tbs sugar and 2 tbs lime juice. Let the meat simmer until there is no liquid left. Clean the herbs removing coarse stems, wash, dry, chop finely and add to the meat. Boil the rice for 15 minutes. Strain and mix with the meat and the herbs. This is the stuffing.
When using fresh vine leaves, choose new and fresh ones, cut the stems, wash and arrange in a pot with enough water to cover. Add a touch of salt and bring to boil until leaves are tender. Strain and set aside to cool down. In a saucepan, add 1 tbs oil and arrange 2 rows of leaves to cover the bottom. To prepare, put a small portion of the stuffing in the center of the leaf and fold the sides of the leaf over the stuffing tightly.
Arrange stuffed leaves in the saucepan tightly next to each other with the folded side down. Add a cup of water. Place a plate up side down over the arrangement before closing the lid. The plate helps to keep stuffed leaves folded while being cooked. Cook on low heat and add more water if necessary until ready. When stuffed leaves are almost cooked, pour the mixture of 1 tbs sugar and 2 tbs lime juice over them. Remove from the heat when the sauce is absorbed. Stuffed leaves can be served hot or cold.
500 g (1 Ib) lean boned lamb
2 large green peppers
4 medium onions
1 tablespoon grated onion
8 small tomatoes
1/2 cup yogurt
juice of 2 lemons
1 teaspoon liquid saffron
4 tablespoons oil
salt and pepper
Trim the meat of all fat, cut into 2 1/2 cm (1 in) cubes. Add liquid saffron, grated onion, salt, pepper, lemon juice to the yogurt. Marinade the lamb in the mixture for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight. Cut up the green peppers in 2 1/2 cm (1 in) squares. Cut the onions into quarters. Thread the meat, pepper, onions and tomatoes alternately on to a fine skewer and grill over glowing coals, turning frequently. When cooked, push the kebabs off the skewers on to a warmed dish and serve immediately.
60 g (2 oz) plain flour
4 fillets of fish (plaice, haddock or cod)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed dried fenugreek leaf (optional)
Mix the flour, salt, pepper and crushed fenugreek together. Add the fillets covering them completely. Fry in hot oil immediately. Serve with sabzi polow.
Rice Pudding With Milk
250 g (8 oz) pudding rice
500 g (1 Ib) sugar
1 litre (2 pints) milk
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 dessertspoons rosewater
pistachio and almond silvers
Wash the rice and soak in water covering 2 1/2 cm (1 in) above rice level for half an hour. Bring to the boil and cook until soft, then add sugar, milk, cardamom and rosewater. Continue cooking until the liquid has been absorbed. Stirring is required from time to time and being careful it doesn't stick, especially towards the end. When it becomes thick and creamy, pour into a bowl and leave it to cool. Serve well chilled and garnished with pistachio and almond slivers.
500 g (1 Ib) sugar
500 g (1 Ib) unsalted butter
500 ml (1 pint) water
250 g (8 oz) plain flour
60 ml (2 fl oz) rosewater
1 tablespoon liquid saffron
Bring water and sugar to the boil, and remove from heat when the sugar has dissolved. In a saucepan melt the butter and then stir in the flour to a smooth paste over a low heat. While stirring, slowly add the rosewater, syrup and liquid saffron. Continue stirring until the mixture is a thin smooth cream. If the mixture gets too thick, add a little warm water to it. Serve warm.