Ajeel and Chahr-Shambeh Souri

Ajeel is a Persian mixture of dried fruits with roasted nuts and seeds, very similar to trail mix. There is no real recipe for it, as it is made to the taste of the person preparing it. Many times you add whatever you might have on hand or what is available at your stores. Here is one example of what ajeel is like in a typical Perisan home. Ajeel is also served during the celebrations of Chahârshanbe Sûrî.

To ward off evil, Iranians jump over fire for Chahr-Shambeh Souri (FamilySpice.com)

Hopefully, in your neck of the woods, you are beginning to feel a little warmth in the air. We sure in San Diego. After a few months of much needed rain and cold, cloudy days, our week has started with beautiful warm 75ºF days. Aaaaah… And we have four more days until Spring arrives. I decided this year to talk about our family’s traditions, which includes Persian New Year, which falls on the Spring Equinox. And of course, all of the food that is associated with this beautiful holiday. Tonight is a special night. It marks Chahr-Shambeh Souri: The night before the last Wednesday of the year. This is a celebration where the light (the good) wins over the darkness (the bad). And to celebrate, you need fire!

I was only six years old when I left Iran, so I don’t remember much of the traditions back there. But, many Iranians who live here in the U.S. and other countries still keep the traditions going. Here in San Diego, we get together with hundreds of others along the beach. Bonfires are made, kabob stands are selling their kabob sandwiches, ash-e reshteh (bean and noodle soup) and also roasted corn-on-the-cob.

To ward off evil, Iranians jump over fire for Chahr-Shambeh Souri (FamilySpice.com)

The bonfires are made for you to jump over them. You shout out: “Sorkhi to az man or zardie man az to!” (“Give me your beautiful red color and take back my sickly yellow pallor.”). All that is bad and evil from the previous year is taken by the fire, so you can start the new year cleansed and ready. Ajeel, our version of the trail mix, is passed around and shared. This tradition is also celebrated in private homes and private yards. In Iran, the fires are made righ on the streets.

Ajeel (Persian Trail Mix) by FamilySpice.com

My husband and I haven’t attended a Chahr-Shambeh Souri celebration in years. Our kids have been babies, too little to stay up so late. But, tonight will be different. We will bundle them up and head to Mission Bay and show them this amazing tradition that is part of their lives. The Professor will want to eat his corn-on-the cob, roasted over the coals and then dunked in salt water. When we first took him, years ago, he at three of these giant corns! The bonfires on the beach get pretty big, so we may not be doing much jumping. Plus, I believe the lawyers have gotten involved and the city may not let us jump over any flames. I’ll pack our own kabob sandwiches, and we’ll celebrate with my in-laws, finding old friends who have also gathered by the beach.

Eating Persian corn on Chahr-Shambeh Souri (FamilySpice.com)

My haft-sin is done. A little smaller than what I did last year, but still very beautiful to look at. The kids have already snuck over and eaten some of the chocolates I put there. And back in the kitchen I will go to help with the cooking for Saturday night.

Special thanks to my cousin Sheiva for the awesome Chahr-Shambeh Souri pictures!

Ajeel

is a Persian mixture of dried fruits with roasted nuts and seeds, very similar to trail mix. There is no real recipe for it, as it is made to the taste of the person preparing it. Many times you add whatever you might have on hand or what is available at your stores. Here is one example of what ajeel is like in a typical Perisan home. Ajeel is also served during the celebrations of Chahârshanbe Sûrî.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cup pistachios
  • 1/2 cup almonds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup chickpeas, dried & toasted
  • 1/4 cup raisins, black
  • 1/4 cup raisins, yellow
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup mulberries, dried

Directions:

  1. In a bowl mix together:
    • 2 cup pistachios
    • 1/2 cup almonds , toasted
    • 1/4 cup chickpeas, dried & toasted
    • 1/4 cup raisins, black
    • 1/4 cup raisins, yellow
    • 1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
    • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
    • 1/4 cup mulberries, dried

Notes:

A great snack for children and adults. For the dried fruits, use any combination of figs, apricots, peaches, raisins, currants and mulberries. Nuts can included roasted hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, chick peas, watermelon seeds and pumpkin seeds.

Prep Time:

Yield: 4 cups

Cook Time:

Total Time:

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Ajeel (Persian Trail Mix) is served on Chahr-Shambeh Souri (FamilySpice.com)

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