What a beautiful story, the story of Mehregan. Have you ever heard of it? Mehregan is a story of love, friendship and hard work; it is a story of sharing and being graceful for what you have. All of this began in a land far far away called Persia.
Persians had their own calendar which divided the year into two seasons: Summer and Winter. Summer began with a celebration called Norouz, when people started to work on their lands and sheep-farming. Near cold times instead, when they reentered their sheep & cattle to the fold, start the harvest and store their products, that was a great time to celebrate Mehregan; for the food they had with the people they loved.
Mehregan was all about food sharing & thanksgiving of harvest time. Greek historians talk about the beauty of persian festive and of the way they use to celebrate it with lots of wine, dancing, singing & joy.
Mehregan used to begin with the light-up of a big fire to dance and celebrate all around it. People used to prepare in advance wine & lot of food to share it with friends, family and people in the streets, Bazaar and King's palaces; it was like everything was for everyone. From poor to rich and young to old, in their homes they set up a beautiful table with all the signs of the harvest, the 7 most important grains (rice, bean, lentil, wheat, …), and the 7 fruits (Bergamot Orange, Apple, Quince, Jujube, Pomegranate, White Grapes and Ziziphus). They used to decorate the table with fresh herbs & flowers. During Mehregan people also used to get married & newborn babies were named with names beginning with Mehr.
Mehr means love.
Till the time as the history and story telling goes, there are always people who start the war and come to take your land, burn the fields and force people to change their habit and "way of thinking".
So as it happens for many it happened to persians too. Some left their own homes because they could not accept the cruelty and some decided to stay. Nowadays there are many different groups of Persians living around the world; there are Iranian Zorostrians, Parsi Zorostrians & Iranians with different religions & believes which still celebrate Mehregan.
Time changed Persians gradually though. Now in Iran we call ourselves Iranian & those in India, for example, call themselves Parsi. We changed, our culture changed, our celebrations & religions changed; and our food too.
In Mehregan grain is a very important ingredient. It's harvest.
So I chose a type of a grain called Mansoor Daal which is sorkh, red, remembering the Fire.
And i inspired myself with an indian recipe called Parsi Daal, a soup/deep spiced by chili that brings heat and intense flavor. It contains cumin & turmeric, 2 spices that are very common in both India & Iran. I mix the paste with Iranian pistachios, almonds and raisins, the delicateness & sweetness of Iranian dishes. Everything is put in a small pastry, as it all come together as one unique aromatic and beautiful thing to share with you all, in memory of a good friendship which is lost in time, to remember those days of hard work, joy and peace.
Serves 4-6 People (12 small pies)
- 350 g Mansoor daal
- 350 g basmati rice
- 80 ml vegetable oil
- 2 small onion
- 2 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
- 1 big chili (optional)
- 2 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon turmeric -
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
- 1 cup chopped fresh mint, coriander, parsley
- 2 teaspoon dried tarragon
- 1 small cup pistachios, almonds & raisins
- 5 tablespoon grated tomato or tomato paste
- 1 egg
- some butter
- 460 g readymade puff pastry
- Start washing the Mansoor daal really well till the water is clear, then leave it to soak overnight. Usually mansoor daal is really easy to cook and maybe it takes 10-12 minutes too cook if you don't leave them overnight instead of 6-7 minutes.
- Boil some water and cook the daal; mansoor daals are delicate, be careful to don't overcook them.
- Rinse and set aside.
- Wash the basmati rice, bring to boil some water, add 2-3 tsp of salt, add the rice into water and stir a little bit. Cook it for 7-8 min, depending on the type of basmati you use. It should be "al dente". Rinse and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. In a non-stick pan, heat the oil, add finely chopped onions & chili and cook them on low-medium heat for 7-8 minutes, or till golden & crispy. Add the ginger and garlic paste, stir and cook it for 30 seconds.
- Add the turmeric, cumin and salt and after add pistachios, almonds & raisins.
- Put the daals, tomato paste and a small cup of hot water in the mixture. Cook it on low heat for 2-4 minutes. If you like, you can use a hand mixer to mash your paste a little bit to bring out more flavor.
- Add the rice and stir without breaking the grains.
- Here you need your muffin sheet or any other pan you use for small pies, butter, 1 white egg and a knife. Grease the muffin sheet with butter, cut the pastry in small circles and place them into the muffin sheets, add the daal paste and close the top of the pie as you like. With a knife score the pasta and brush it with the egg white, this will allow a better and crispier cooking, making your top even lighter.
- Place into the oven and cook it till golden brown.
- Serve this beautiful crispy pies with some red onion mostarda or with a yogurt iranian deep.
Jashn-e Kharman mobarak ( Jashn in Persian language means celebration & Kharman means Harvest.)
For more Inspiring recipes, to get to know this ancient Persian culture which it find its way to every corner i will introduce you to all these amazing iranian food bloggers which together with me present a dish for #Mehrean2014 :
Ahu Eats: Badoom Sookhte Torsh | Sour Caramelized Almonds All Kinds of Yum: Jeweled Carrot Salad Bottom of the Pot: Broccoli Koo Koo (Frittata) Cafe Leilee: Northern Iranian Pomegranate Garlic and Chicken Stew Coco in the Kitchen: Zeytoon Parvardeh | Marinated Olives with Pomegranate & Walnuts Della Cucina Povera: Ghormeh Sabzi | Persian Lamb & Herb Stew Fae's Twist & Tango: Rice Meatballs | Kufteh Berenji Family Spice: Khoreshteh Kadoo | Butternut Squash Stew Fig & Quince: Festive Persian Noodle Rice & Roasted Chicken Stuffed with Yummies for Mehregan Honest and Tasty: Loobia Polo | Beef and Green Bean Rice Lab Noon: Adas Polo Risotto | Persian Lentils Risotto Lucid Food: Sambuseh Marjan Kamali: Persian Ice Cream with Rosewater and Saffron My Caldron: Anaar-Daneh Mosamma | Pomegranate Stew My Persian Kitchen: Keshmesh Polow | Persian Raisin Rice Noghlemey: Parsi Dal Rice Pie Parisa's Kitchen: Morasa Polow | Jeweled Rice The Saffron Tales: Khorosht-e Gheimeh | Yellow Lentils Stew Sabzi: Yogurt Soup with Meatballs Simi's Kitchen: Lita Turshisi | Torshi-e Liteh | Tangy aubergine pickle Spice Spoon: Khoresht-e-bademjaan | Saffron-Scented Aubergine Stew Turmeric & Saffron: Ash-a Haft Daneh | Seven Bean Soup The Unmanly Chef: Baghali Polow ba Mahicheh | Rice with Fave Beans and Lamb ZoZoBaking: Masghati | Persian Scented Starch Fudge