Sunday, 21 March 2010

Happy New Year - Aide shoma mobarak

At 5.32 on Saturday evening it was the beginning of the Iranian New Year and the first day of Spring. As part of the celebration it is traditional to collect together seven items that begin with the letter S and symbolise the seven guardian angels:
you can see ours laid out above.

Then it's traditional to serve herb rice with fish, at least that has always been the tradition in 'A's' family. We had dill, garlic and broad bean rice this year. The rice is double cooked to make a crunchy outer crust called tahdeeg, literally 'pan bottom.' It can be turned out like an upside down pudding with a hard outer shell. When you break open the shell the soft herb and garlic rice falls out along with the butter beans like little treats. And the tahdeeg is something else!
I remember the first time my brother-in-law offered me some, I wondered why he was giving me what I considered to be burnt rice! Little did I realise that out of his generosity he was giving me the best bit of the rice.....just like the best roasted potatoes are the crunchy chewy ones with caramelised burnt bits on them.......yum....

...and even better is garlic pickle that has been preserved for so long that any bitter garlic flavour has gone.....the older the better.......just as garlic heads baked in the oven turn into delicious sweet caremelly treat to eat with the mix of soft and crunchy, herby rice and fish shallow fried in a spicy batter just like mama used to make.......double yum.......

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