Nowruz, as the Persian New Year is commonly known, is a celebration of the beginning of Spring, and one of the oldest actively celebrated festivities in the world, with roots reaching back over 7000 years.
Translated into English as “new day,” Nowruz marks the beginning of the cycle of life, so traditional festive foods embody some the overarching themes of the holiday: spring, fertility, life and rebirth. For spring and rebirth, fresh green herbs are a very common representation, while eggs and fish signify fertility and life.
As a rice dish made with fresh herbs and served with fish filets, sabzi polo ba mahi – “green rice with fish” – perfectly encapsulates the themes of the holiday, and is generally considered the quintessential festive meal for Norooz. And what celebration would be complete without delicious sweets? Not to worry, there are lots of classic Persian desserts to be found on theNowruz table!
Join Sonbol Zand for a traditional Iranian New Year’s dinner prepared by a passionate Persian cook. Nowruz Mubarak (Happy New Year)
A very popular Nowruz dish, kookoo is a kind of Persian frittata, full of green herbs and eggs mixed with tart barberries and walnuts, garnished with tomato, cucumber pickles and served with fresh Persian bread.
A unique dish from Northern Iran, this oven-baked whole trout is stuffed with tamarind, onion, garlic, walnut, barberries and herbs with tart tamarind sauce.
Sabzi Polo ba Mahi
The classic Persian New Year’s meal: Delicate basmati rice steamed with fresh herbs and Persian saffron, served with breaded and fried fish with wedges of lemon. The meal is accompanied by a selection of Iranian favourites: golden shards of buttery Tahdig, the cherished crispy crust from the bottom of the rice pot; Torshi, a mix of pickled vegetables; Zeytoon Parvardeh, olives with pomegranate molasses, walnuts and herbs; and Sabzi Khordan, a colourful and refreshing selection of fresh herbs, green onions and crunchy radishes often found on the traditional Persian table.
A Selection of Persian Sweets
No holiday meal is complete without lots of sweets! Noon Nokhodchix, A classic Persian Nowruz treat, a delicate shortbread-like cookie made with chickpea flour, scented with cardamom and topped with pistachio; Sohan Asali, A crunchy-chewy New Year’s treat made with honey and almonds, topped with pistachio. Persian Halva, A sweet “fudge” of flour and butter, mixed with a syrup of sugar, saffron, rosewater that gives it a unique, aromatic flavour. Served with long-steeped Persian black tea infused with cardamom.
Sonbol Zand’s passion for cooking has become a favorite hobby, a sanctuary after long hours at work as an IT manager. It has has led her to courses at George Brown College and in Bordeaux, France. Growing up in an Iranian home, Persian dishes are among her favorite to prepare and share with others.
Every weekend The Depanneur invites a guest chef to host a fun, informal dinner party.