Friday, March 20, 2009
When I think of anything Iranian, I think of saffron. My Iranian friends make the best saffron rice. Fataneh gave me some of the saffron her mom brought to her from Iran when I visited her a few springs ago in Stockholm and this saffron has a heavenly scent and a delectable flavor! Rice is such a versatile grain and the Iranian saffron way of preparing rice is one of the dreamiest and most fragrant.
The best saffron is from the stigma (female) of the crocus flower, not the stamina (male):
"Stigma, also called style (central part of a flower, female sexual organ). Approximately 150000 flowers are needed for one kilogram of dried saffron; typically, one would need 2000 m2 field area per kg harvest. Less expensive qualities include also the yellow stamina (male sexual organ), which do not have any taste of their own."
7 seen image from Iranmaniacards
Happy Norouz to all my Iranian friends!
"Noruz, is the first day of the Iranian solar year, translated literally as "New Day". Since the Achaemenid era (12th B.C.), the official year has begun with the New Day when the sun leaves the zodiac of Pisces and enters the zodiacal sign of Aries, a fire sign, signifying the Spring Equinox.
The moment the sun crosses the equator and equalizes night and day is calculated exactly every year and families gather together to observe the rituals. Noruz is considered the major civil celebration of the year. Coinciding with March 20 or March 21, the first day of the first month of Farvardin, brings about a rebirth of nature."
The image above depicts a tradition of Norooz, Haft Seen, which is a table set a few weeks before in preparation for Norooz. I told you about the goldfish, Ruth, that I bought 2 years back to participate in Haft Seen, but she did not like her glass bowl, at all.
"Haft Seen is a traditional table decorated with at least seven or "Haft" symbolic objects, nutrients or plants beginning with the Persian letter "s" or "Seen". They often consist of hyacinth "Sonbol", red apples "Seeb", the spice sumac "Somagh", garlic "Seer", vinegar "Serkeh", coins "Sekeh", Bohemian olives "Senjed", and a dish of germinated wheat or barley seeds "Sabzeh".
The hyacinth blooms in the springtime, symbolizing the rebirth of nature. Red apples provide color as well as representing the First Fruit, from the time of Adam and Eve. Sumac is said to be the spice of life and garlic is believed to chase away evil spirits. Vinegar is a symbol of fermentation, having originated as grapes and undergone many transformations. The coins represent wealth and hopes for prosperity. The germinated seeds represent the fertility of the land in Spring.
The tablecloth used on the Haft Seen table is made of hand-woven cloth, known as "Termeh". The Holy Book of the household is placed on this table. On the table are also placed a mirror for the reflection of life, candles representing the light of life, goldfish in a bowl as a sign of living form, a painted egg for each member of the family, traditional pastries and bread to symbolize a plentiful year."
photo from Iranian.com