Cardamom, cinnamon, hyacinth and rose water, that is just a sample of what my house smells like right now. It is Persian New Years! Happy Now Ruz everyone! So I am in a baking mood and whipping out a batch of my absolute favourite Persian pastries: Ghotab or Qottab (there are so many different spellings for this). Ghotab is a traditional Iranian almond and walnut-filled crescent pastry that is made anytime of year, but they are particularly delightful during the new year festivities.
This pastry originated in the city of Yazd, where my dad was raised before moving the Tehran. So it really hits home. As a treat, my parents would buy us some from the Persian bakery stores. I remember a year when my great aunt came to visit us and it felt like she was in the kitchen the entire summer baking us batches of these sweet pastries. The homemade version was just something else. They tasted unbelievable and really put the store bought pastries to shame. I kind of lost a taste for them after having experienced the real, authentic thing.
Persian New Year (Norouz) Haft Seen Table Spread
If you are wondering why my pastries are placed near a display that includes an apple, dried fruit and a fishbowl, well there is a simple explanation! This arrangement of items is the traditional "haftseen" or in English, the seven S's. During Persian New Years, it is customary to set up a table a few days prior to the New Year with an arrangement of these seven items that all begin with the letter S in the Persian language. These spreads tend to be quite large and elaborate. Since I live in a condo, mine is more of a mini, compact version.
Each "S" item is put there for a reason and has a symbolic meaning for the new year.
- Sabzeh (wheat or lentil sprout) - rebirth
- Samanu (sweet pudding) - affluence
- Senjed (dried oleaster) - love
- Seer (garlic) - medicine and health
- Seeb (apple) - beauty
- Somaq (sumac) - sunrise
- Serkeh (vinegar) - age and patience
There are other symbolic items that are normally placed on the table in addition to the seven required pieces. These include: goldfish, hyacinth flower, a mirror, a Persian poetry book, painted eggs, coins, candles and an array of decadent Persian pastries.
Happy Norouz! Wishing you all a happy and prosperous new year!Print