Ajeel is a Persian trail mix filled with a variety of dried fruits, roasted nuts and seeds. It is served all year long but especially during Norouz and the celebrations of Chahârshanbe Sûrî.
Hopefully, in your neck of the woods, you are beginning to feel a little warmth in the air. We sure do here 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-Shanbeh 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.
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. 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. This tradition is also celebrated in private homes and private yards. In Iran, the fires are made right on the streets.
My husband and I haven’t attended a Chahr-Shanbeh Souri celebration in years. When the kids were babies, it was too late at night for them. Then extra curricular activities got in the way.
But since today (Tuesday March 14, 2017) is Chahr-Shanbeh, everyone will flock to to Mission Bay where the fun and fire can be found. Here’s a pic of our budding Professor who always wants to eat Persian corn-on-the cob, which is roasted over the coals and then dunked in salt water.
WOW! He was tiny and so darn CUTE! His baby brother was hanging in the baby sling on his dad, and our Princess was just a wish in our hearts. Seems like ages ago…. wait, here’s another cute picture:
He still loves his corn!
This year, my haft seen is not done yet. I’m a little slow this year. I’ll share pictures with you when I do finish.
Special thanks to my cousin Sheiva for the awesome Chahr-Shanbeh Souri pictures!
Want to learn more about Nowruz and the Persian New Year? I have put together an ebook that has all the history, traditions and recipes of Nowruz, in a beautifully photographed ebook. And it’s only $1.99! Learn more here!
- 2 cup pistachios
- 1/2 cup toasted almonds
- 1/4 cup dried and toasted chickpeas
- 1/4 cup black raisins
- 1/4 cup yellow raisins
- 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup dried mulberries
- Combine all of the ingredients and serve.
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.
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Serving Size:1/4 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 187 Total Fat: 17.3g Saturated Fat: 1.7g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 82mg Carbohydrates: 13.1g Fiber: 3.4g Sugar: 5.5g Protein: 6.6g