This week we’re bringing you a delicious recipe for Nowruz, the Persian New Year, which is this Saturday, March 21st. Last year we posted a recipe for Sabzi Polo Mahi along with a history of the holiday and the traditions behind it. Click here to read that complete post, but right now let’s do a quick recap before we jump right in to the recipe for Kookoo Sabzi, a traditional herbed omelet.
Nowruz is at least partly associated with Zoroastrianism, an ancient religion founded in Iran over 3,500 years ago. When the Persian Zoroastrians celebrated Nowruz, the holiday was dedicated to fire and God’s wisdom, but after thousands of years, the holiday eventually became disassociated with religion and is now simply a New Year’s celebration.
Of course, there’s nothing really simple about Nowruz! It is a joyous festival steeped in ancient traditions and symbolism.
The main feature of the holiday is the haftseen table. Haftseen means “seven s’s” and so the table is named after the seven foods that are included, all of which begin with the Persian letter “seen”(s). Seven is considered a lucky number and each food is chosen as a symbol of renewal.
- Seeb(apple), representing beauty
- Seer(garlic), representing good health
- Serkeh(vinegar), representing patience
- Sonbol (hyacinth), representing spring
- Samanu(sweet pudding), representing fertility
- Sabzeh(sprouts), representing rebirth
- Sekeh(coins), representing prosperity
Somagh (sumac), representing light and the color of the sunrise, and senjed (dried lotus fruit), representing love, can also be included. A fish recipe is eaten to symbolize abundance in the New Year. Egg dishes represent fertility and green vegetables call to mind the colors of the season and the reawakening of the earth.
The recipe below is a Persian egg dish or kookoo similar to an Italian frittata or open-faced omelet. This egg cuisine is popular with Iranians who use flavorings to create many variations. This recipe, which is probably the most popular, is enhanced with herbs and tinted a deep green.
Whether or not you are planning on celebrating the Persian New Year, you can certainly enjoy the unique and scrumptious foods of the holiday. Perhaps this year you’ll decide to add a new holiday to your family’s schedule and honor an ancient culture rich in family, food and tradition.
- 2 tablespoons of butter or oil
- 1 bunch of scallions, chopped
- 1 bunch of parsley, chopped
- 1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 bunch of dill, chopped
- 8 eggs
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat the butter or oil in an ovenproof sauté pan or skillet over medium flame. Add the scallions, parsley, cilantro and dill and sauté until the herbs are cooked down somewhat, around 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool. Wipe the pan clean with a paper towel.
- Add the eggs, turmeric, salt and pepper to a large bowl and beat until smooth. Stir in the cooled herbs.
- Pour the eggs back into the sauté pan and place the pan in the preheated oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the eggs are fully set.
- Run a knife around the edges of the kookoo and invert onto a serving platter. Cut into wedges and serve hot or cold with a garnish of plain yogurt.
- Substitute chopped lettuce leaves or spinach for some of the herbs.
- For a fancier kookoo sabzi, add 1/4 cup chopped of walnuts and 1 tablespoon of currants to the beaten eggs. Or simply garnish the finished kookoo with roasted whole walnuts. In Iran, barberries, which are similar to dried cranberries, are often added.
- The kookoo can also be finished on the stovetop. Just cook it over medium-low flame until the bottom is set, then carefully flip it to cook the other side.
 (n.d.). Retrieved March 13, 2015, from http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/zoroastrian/ataglance/glance.shtml
 Nowruz: A New Day | SAVEUR. (n.d.). Retrieved March 13, 2015, from http://www.saveur.com/article/Travels/Nowruz-Persian-New-Year
 Persian New Year’s Table Celebrates Nature’s Rebirth Deliciously. (n.d.). Retrieved March 13, 2015, from http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/03/20/291443678/persians-celebrate-new-year-natures-rebirth-deliciously
 Nowruz: A New Day