Kiafardaily

Month: December, 2015

Yalda Night, 2015

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A lot of you were interested in knowing what we are planning to do in our night of Yalda! I am more than happy to share whatever we did! Yalda to me is like thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians and Americans. This time of the year is a busy time for almost everybody. As some of you getting ready to celebrate christmas, we Persians, celebrate Yalda night, the longest night of the year!

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We gather and spend the time of Yalda night together, laughing, reading poems, and eat special treats and fruits! We stay warm by keeping our hearts close together. Like Christmas is just more than a celebration. It is spiritual and deep rooted in our culture.We Persians celebrate this dark beauty, Yalda, the longest night of the year which is the announcement for welcoming winter season….

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And I am thrilled to share the visual stories of our home at Yalda. Right now, I am just in the preparation of pomegranates, watermelon, and roasted nuts, sweets, and last but not least, a great simple and fresh pomegranate salad for this seasonal festive. I will share my visual stories and the recipe for this quick and easy salad with you tonight. Yalda Night happens to be a calendar event and counts as the last night of every human citizens’  fall season.

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Living as an earthocentric human citizen, I believe that we all belong to our very own mother earth and shall share our cultural celebrations with our distant global citizens. love how we from different cultures, have celebrations that happen at the same time! Yalda is only 4 nights apart from christmas.  It is interesting how the color red is symbolic for two occasions and the time when all family members get together at grand parents houses to chill and cheer. I love and appreciate this sense of belonging to all earth’s citizens. We have the same roots and may be a day, when  we all live in peace. Merry Christmas to all of you my friends.

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Pomegranate Mango Salad

If you are looking for an exotic and yet healthy desert, the pomegranate citrus salad is definitely the right thing to do the job! Although it is made in less than fifteen minutes, it is both exotic and flavourful. This is the recipe I created to make and share with my family. I really wanted to pamper them with juicy and fresh flavours, and I succeeded. This recipe is going to be a must-have in Winter time and occasions like christmas and Yalda.
Ingredients
2large pomegranates, seeded
1large mango, peeled and cut into cubes
3medium oranges, skinned and cut into cubes
The juice of one lemon, squeezed
2tablespoons honey
1cup orange or mango juice

To assemble this salad, just combine all the ingredients, toss and serve. It is that simple! Enjoy

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Shole Zard

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I was probably only seven or eight years old. I came to my grandma’s kitchen and saw rows of Shole Zard (Persian Saffron Rice Puddings) sitting in the kitchen. And more were coming in! They all came with different decorations and words written on them. Words were “ Ya Hossein”, “Ya Allaah”, or other religiously related names common in Sia’s iconic tradition. However, they all had many things in common! They all had cinnamon and almonds for the toppings and decorations! Yet, the way women used them were a lot different than each other. The neater the decoration, the more appealing the Shole Zard looked.

Many people cooked and shared this specific desert on the day of Arbayeen which is basically the fortieth day of Imam Hossein killing in Ashoura day. And this tradition happens every year. My memory of this event is probably the oldest, yet conspicuous I have from Shole Zard Making tradition.
My grandma picked out a few which had richer saffron colour and almonds to save for grandpa and other members to be served later. And gave away the rest to the poor.

“Why everybody makes Shole Zard in this day? Why don’t they just make it in other days, so we do not have to give most of them away?“, I asked?Well,, that is oblation to Imam Hossein for this day, and people just cannot postpone it!” Grandma said. However, I was not convinced by the fact that people make this delicious dessert only as an oblation. Year after year past until I grew up in that practicing community.

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I, forever, connect the image of Shole Zard to those days when we received many bowls all at the same time. My grandma and other women in the family commented on taste and discussed the methods and tricks ladies had used to decorate their oblatory Shole Zard bowls. Gossiping was in fact a fun part of the whole story of Shole Zard bowls.

These days food culture is changing. Shole Zard is more widespread, known to be a Persian dessert which is served at many restaurants and food places. I cook Persian Rice Pudding both for oblatory and simple as a yummy desert at family dinners. It is worth to mention that since it is sweet, I do not make it very often. And when I do, I keep  portions small.

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Ingredients:
500gr Jasmine Rice
1Kg sugar
200 gr butter
2 teaspoons saffron, mixed in 1/3 cup boiling water and brewed for few minutes
1/2 cup rosewater
4 tablespoons crushed pistachio, for decoration
1/5cup crushed almond, extra for decoration
1/2 teaspoon crushed cinnamon, for decoration

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Directions:
Wash rice a few times until the water is clear, and drain. In a medium large pot, add about 2 liters water and bring to a boil. Remove foams that may form. When rice softens completely, add sugar, stir well and let boil on a very low heat for another hour, still occasionally. This helps the sugar caramelize in Shole, giving it an even and infused sweet taste.

Dissolve saffron into Shole. Add butter and give it a good stir. Add in most of the almonds and the rosewater. And cook for half an hour on a very low temperature until set, and get a creamy texture. Serve with pistachio, almond and cinnamon sprinkled on top.

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