in harmony with nature, persians celebrate the rebirth of the earth on the first two weeks of spring. on the day which may occur on march 20th or 21th the sun crosses the celestial equator. nowrouz ceremonies consist of series of symbolic rituals dating back to ancient persia (about 18th century BCE.) a few weeks before nowrouz iranians do spring cleaning and rearrange their homes, bake pastries, and germinate seeds as symbol of renewal. i started with germinating mung beans, wheat, and lentils. mung beans and lentils grow much faster than wheat. so next year i have to start wheat earlier. i'll keep you updated on how my experiment is doing every couple of days. as you can see on the picture i first soaked them in water for a couple of days and changed the water daily that it doesn't smell. then removed the water and spread the seeds on big plates. first covered them for a couple of days with a wet towel for another two days. the moisture of the towel and the darkness helps the sprouts come out faster. then remove the towel and leave them in a warm and bright place, preferably sunny. water them daily, but not too much, only sprinkle with water till they grow. i know keeping these greens for so long is only a tradition for persians but also the sprouts are tasty and you don't have to wait long if you like to enjoy eating them or adding them in to salad.
i'm also going to talk about haft seen(literally seven dishes setting, each one beginning with the persian letter seen) in a couple of days but before that i still have to talk about another ingredient i prepared for nowrouz. on the same table as haft seen, people place seven special sweets, because according to 3000 year old legend, king jamshid discovered sugar on the day of nowrouz. (even the word candy comes from the persian word for sugar, qand.) i made one of these seven sweets which is almost the persian version of marzipan. we call it tut, which literally means white mulberries.
- two cups almond
- one teaspoon ground cardamom
- one cup sugar
- half a cup rosewater
- one tablespoon orange-blossom water
- one cup confectioners' sugar
- two tablespoon slivered pistachios or almonds
in order to get the fresh taste i soak the almonds for a couple of hours in water and then peel them. then mix them with cardamom and sugar in a mixer. slowly blend in the rosewater and orange blossom water. stir until you get a soft dough. add more almonds if the dough doesn't stick together. take a small spoonfuls of dough and shape into white mulberries. roll each in sugar and insert a sliver of almond or pistachio as a stem. i also colored some of the dough with some green food coloring to make it look more springy. you could also enjoy it on st. patrick's day.:-) arrange on a serving platter and enjoy it with a cup of cardamom tea.