Persians are romantics. Even the most ordinary expression of gratitude in exchange for a glass of water is presented as “Merci, aziz-eh dehl am,” meaning “Thank you, dearest of my heart.” While this may shock most Westerners, what is more surprising is that is whole-heartedly genuine. Even their food is poetic, like Yakh dar Behesht which translates to Ice in Paradise. It’s a refreshing rose-scented milk dessert much like pudding, it’s the perfect treat to welcome Spring which marks the new year for Persians.
Nowruz, as it’s called in farsi, is celebrated by many, regardless of ethnicity or religious preference. It’s one of my most favorite holidays. Following in my parents’ footsteps, I faithfully set the special haft sin table every year. It’s a beautiful tradition that our family maintains from our homeland and I hope Daisy will keep it alive and pass it on to her children one day.
Now is a time of celebration and that means there is some seriously delicious food on that table, including sunny saffron rice pudding called Sholeh Zard. This year, I learned to make creamy rose milk pudding with a sweet pink hue and speckled with precious pistachio bits.
Mom’s recipe is so easy, anyone can make it. It requires no eggs or gelatin, so it’s perfect for your vegetarian friends. It’s also safe for those who have gluten allergies as there it uses starch and rice flour. Here’s how!
Persian Rose Milk Pudding
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Chill: 2 hrs
1 cup rice flour
5 cups milk
1 cup cornstarch
4 cups water
3 cups sugar
1 tsp cardamom powder
1/2 cup rose water
5 drops red food coloring (optional)
3-4 Tb crushed raw unsalted pistachios
organic dried rose buds for garnish
Mix rice flour with milk. Set aside.
Mix starch with water. Set aside.
Combine the two in a heavy-bottomed pot.
Add sugar and cardamom.
Set over medium-high heat and stir gently until the mixture begins boil.
Remove from heat.
Add rosewater and food coloring.
Divide among individual bowls, martini glasses, etc.
Cover with plastic and transfer to the fridge to chill, ~2-3 hrs.
Sprinkle top with crushed pistachios and edible rose petals.
I don’t watch the news, nor do I read the newspaper. Ignorance is bliss for me, especially when there’s nothing I can do to change things. People are essentially the same, regardless of religion and ethnicity, all at the mercy of their governments. Man and woman fall in love, establish a family, work hard to raise their children the best way they can. It’s the same no matter what corner of the planet you look. Food brings us together. That’s where our differences shine and spark new friendships.
Both Roman and Persian calendars marked the beginning of the new year with the coming of Spring when new life blossoms. Join us in this beautiful tradition and make a vat of blushing Rose Milk Pudding. Celebrate another year, looking forward with a hopeful heart for good things for all!
See what deliciousness my fellow Persian food bloggers have to offer:
- Labnoon: Sabzi Polo Mahi: Herby Rice & Turmeric Fried Fish
- My Caldron: Rose Tea for This Norooz
- Parisa’s Kitchen: Pichagh Gheimeh: Persian Almond Stew