One of the first things that come to mind during this time of the year is the cuisine that it comes with. Plenty of traditional dishes such as soups, fried chickens, rice dishes, vegetarian options and many others are served during the festivals and gatherings.
But today, we want to sweeten things up a little and give you the recipe for a very traditional dessert; samanu.
Samanu is made with germinated wheat that becomes a sweet, brown paste by the end of cooking and takes a very long time to prepare. So beware; save time and plan ahead before getting to work with this one!
Samanu is very common in Western and Central Asian countries such as Iran, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan around Nowruz time as a part of the tradition. The cooking of samanu is a big and important gathering for people during the Nowruz and everyone contributes to the process. As stirring is an important part of the preparation, usually women sit together, sing and make wishes while stirring the sumalak in a huge pot. After it's done, warm sumalak is presented to neighbours, family and friends as part of the Nowruz tradition.
Ingredients: Wheat (500g), Wheat Flour (2kg), Water
Preparation: Firstly, wash wheat with cold water and rinse. Put it in a pot and add more water to make sure there is at least 2-3cms of water above the wheat. Leave it for two days and change the water on a daily basis. By the third day, wheat will begin to germinate.
Grab a piece of cloth and pour wheat inside of it and wrap the cloth around it. Place the germinated wheat wrapped inside of the cloth in a bowl and keep in a warm place. Every other two days sprinkle a bit of cold water over it to make it wet however make sure it doesn't get soggy.
Roots would begin to appear. Now you can spread wheat on a large plate, then spread the cloth and sprinkle with more water. Continue sprinkling with water once or twice a day based on the germination. You will see silvery sprouts start to appear. It's important to start using the wheat before sprouts turn green.
After grinding the wheat, add two glasses of water and mix. Makes sure your water is cold and mix well. Filter out the excess of the water and squeeze out the extract by pressing the wheat hard. Add the extract to flour whilst mixing.
When you place the mix over medium heat, start stirring until it starts to boil and thicken. You can carry on with heating until water totally evaporates and not visible in the mix. Then without adding any oil or sugar, fry the mix.
After frying the mix, add 1-2 glasses of hot water and mix well (again). Boil it slowly while stirring occasionally until it slightly thickens. Finally, place the mix in the oven; 30 minutes on low temperature.
Once you take it out from the oven, you can serve as small portions in bowls or as larger portions on plates with using nuts or dried fruits as toppings, your choice. Enjoy it!