March 22, 2004

Nauroz mubarak!; and, valleys green in memory

Nauroz is the Afghan (and Iranian and I think Uzbek) new year, falling on the spring equinox, which is to say, yesterday. Aft miwa or miwa naurozi is the traditional dessert, a kind of fruit compote. (Explaining why so many cultures have new year's dishes involved preserved fruit is left as an exercise for the reader.) There are various purported symbolisms to the choices of fruits and nuts, involving the number seven, which to me seem like pretty obvious Zoroastrian survivals; anyway we were never very in to that in our family.

2 cups dried apricots
2 cups red raisins
1 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dried cherries
1 cup pistachio
1 cup walnuts
1 cup blanched almonds
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon cardamom

Mix the fruit in a large bowl, cover with water (leave perhaps 1 inch of water above the fruit) and set aside overnight (or longer) in the fridge. When you're ready to serve, add the nuts to boiling water and boil until soft, say five minutes. Discard the water and add the nuts to the fruit, along with the honey and cardamom. Stir thoroughly, and serve the fruit-nut-juice mix in small bowls. This will keep for quite a while, the juice becoming stronger as time goes on. I think it goes well with a dry white wine, but that hasn't been popular for a while...

In other pleasant Afghanistan-related news, the Atlantic Monthly has a lovely piece on the old royal hunting grounds at Ajar (cache). My grandfather says that it really was that beautiful, back in the day, and I believe him, since he has the pictures to prove it. (He is, however, politely skeptical about the idea of the king actually addressing someone in Pashto.)

Afghanistan and Central Asia ; Food

Posted at March 22, 2004 10:41 | permanent link

Three-Toed Sloth