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Celebrate Nowruz with a recipe for Persian herbed rice with fish

Today’s Google doodle pays homage to the Persian festival of Nowruz. Recreate the celebratory feeling with a new recipe

A screenshot of the Google doodle dedicated to Nowruz.
A screenshot of the Google doodle dedicated to Nowruz.

Nowruz is Persian for new day. It's Persian festival that marks the first day of spring and signifies renewal. The doodle was designed by Iranian-American artist Pendar Yousefi who heads the global design team at Google Translate in California. It draws from his childhood memories of families coming together for celebrations.

Also read | A recipe for flat white inspired by a Google Doodle

To mark the occasion, an altar is put together with seven symbolic objects that begin with the letter S in Farsi. Food is integral to this selection. There’s sabzeh (sprouted wheatgrass) which indicates rebirth, senjed (oleaster or wild olive) for love; seeb (apple) to symbolise beauty and well-being; samanu (wheat pudding) to represent strength; somagh (sumac) to symbolise sunrise; serkeh (vinegar) which means patience; and seer (garlic) for health.

These spices and grains are essential to the Persian kitchen and go into several preparations. An important dish prepared for the festivities also begins with the alphabet S. Known as sabzi polo ba mahi, it is a preparation of herbed rice with fish. The dish is symbolic too. The herbed rice with fresh greens represent spring and renewal, while the fish represents rebirth. To make it, basmati is preferred; a practice similar to rice-based festive dishes in India. Use of saffron and saffron water is prevalent in their cooking.

The YouTube cooking channel Persian Test Kitchen has a good recipe for saffron water. It’s water infused with saffron and sweetened with a bit of sugar. This can be stored for two-three days, and goes into marinades and used in cooking rice. The Persian Test Kitchen has an easy recipe for sabzi polo ba mahi. It uses a lot of fresh herbs, like chives, parsly, leek and cilantro, and is spiced with whole garlic pods. The fish is lightly coated with flour and shallow fried. Make it, and enjoy a new recipe this spring. Here’s the recipe:

Also read | A recipe with fish for an easy weeknight meal

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