Yalda is a Persian winter solstice festival celebrated for thousands of years. The festival is held on the longest night of the year, and traditionally, families would stay up all night eating and drinking to celebrate the occasion. Nowadays, Yalda is still celebrated by many Iranians, and some special foods are traditionally eaten during the festival. Stay with Cooking County to get to know more about Yalda foods.
What Happens on Yalda Night?
Iran celebrates the longest night of the year with an all-night party. Yalda night, also known as Shab-e Chelleh, is observed on the last Tuesday of the Persian calendar year. The tradition dates back to ancient Zoroastrian times when people would stay up all night to worship the sun god, Mithra.
Today, Iranians celebrate Yalda night by staying up late, visiting with friends and family, and eating seasonal fruits and nuts. The celebration of light over darkness is a reminder that hope and happiness will always triumph in the end.
Fruits Served on Yalda Night
The main fruit of the Yalda night is the pomegranate because the ancients considered it a source of blessing and fertility. They proposed this interpretation because of its many seeds, and its red color symbolizes the sun and happiness.
Similarly to pomegranates, watermelon also represents Yalda night.
You should know that watermelon is a summer fruit; therefore, in addition to its red color, it reminds us of heat and symbolizes the sun. Of course, other fruits and citrus fruits, such as oranges, apples, persimmons, pears or even pumpkins, are served on the Yalda tables.
Nuts and Snacks
Nuts and special snacks, such as pistachio, almonds, walnuts, and hazelnuts, along with berries and dried figs, are among the more important options for dinner on Yalda night. As you know, long-term storage of fruits in the past took work. So, people used to dry many fruits for consumption and preservation. It is interesting to know that today, other foods and snacks such as Pashmak and Baslogh are also served on the Yalda night table.
What Should I Make on Yalda Night?
Ash-e Anar (Pomegranate Potage)
Nothing is better than a delicious soup on the cold nights of the year. Pomegranate soup is the best appetizer for Yalda night. This soup is prepared with pomegranate paste, juice, and pomegranate seeds and has a sweet and sour taste. Pomegranate soup is ready in different cities of Iran, such as Shiraz, Gilan, Yazd, etc.; it is often made without meat, but some people like to cook it with beef.
How to Make Ash-e Anar?
- 500 grams green vegetables
- 1 pc pomegranate seeds
- 1 cup rice
- 3 pcs onions
- 1 to 2 cups pomegranate juice
- 2 tablespoons cobs
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate paste
- 3 medium red beets
- 3 tablespoons dry mint
- Salt, black pepper, and turmeric as needed
Put the cob in a pot, cover it with water, and let it cook with the lid closed. Cook the beetroots with a bit of water in another pot.
Cut two onions into small pieces and fry them in a pot until they become golden. Then add turmeric, black pepper and salt to it. Now, add the rice with three liters of boiling water and let it cook with the lid on the pot on gentle heat until it is fully cooked.
After the rice is cooked, add the vegetables and cook for 30 minutes. In the next step, it’s time to add cooked cobs and beetroots along with beetroots juice.
Note: Crush the beetroots before adding.
Now, add pomegranate juice, paste, and pomegranate seeds as desired and adjust the salt. Then, let Ash-e Anar cook with pomegranate seeds.
Cut one of the onions into slices and make hot onions. After frying, remove the onion from the oil and put the dry mint in the same hot oil, fry, and when it is ready, turn off the heat.
How to Serve Ahs-e Anar?
When your soup is ready, decorate it with fried mint and onion. Enjoy your meal!
Khoresh Kadoo Halvaei (Pumpkin Stew)
Another delicious Yalda food is pumpkin stew with Bukhara plums. In winter, you can prepare all kinds of food, appetizers and desserts with pumpkin. Khoresh Kadoo Halvaei with Bukhara plums is a sweet, tasty, and aromatic stew that can add lovely and delicious warmth to your Yalda dinner table. Prepare this delicious stew for Yalda night dinner so that it will be a different experience for you and your family.
Morgh-e Torsh (Northern Sour Chicken)
Northern sour chicken is a delicious chicken stew that even the name makes you ask for seconds. The main difference between this stew and other Iranian stews is the mixture of walnut kernels, special vegetables and pomegranate paste. The pleasant taste that pomegranate paste gives to this stew makes it a suitable dish for Yalda night.
Khoresh Morgh Nardoni (Pomegranate Chicken Stew)
Another suggestion for Yalda night dinner is Khoresh Morgh Nardoni or pomegranate chicken stew. Many people make this delicious dish with fresh pomegranate on Yalda night. Do not doubt that this delicious northern stew will blow everyone’s mind at the Yalda dinner table. We all know Shab Chele with pomegranate from old times. This stew is the best choice for this long night with pomegranate, pomegranate juice and pomegranate paste in it.
Remember to make this recipe and share it with us. Please do not hesitate to ask if you also have any related questions about the Yalda foods.