Longest-night grazing mix

Longest-night grazing mix

Ajeel-e shab-chera

By
From
Saraban
Makes
1 kg
Photographer
Mark Roper

Ajeel is the generic name for mixtures of dried fruit, nuts and seeds, and the varieties are virtually infinite in Iran. Make your own mix, depending on what you think goes together well. Some particular combinations are reserved for special festivals, such as Persian New Year or Yalda, the ancient winter solstice festival. On this longest night of the year, families and friends gather to read the poetry of the legendary Persian poet, Hafez, while they snack on fresh pomegranates, watermelon and ajeel into the early hours. As with so many Persian things, the number seven is all-important to this mixture, as is the inclusion of watermelon seeds, which represent the warmth of summer in the midst of winter. You can find watermelon seeds in Middle Eastern food stores, otherwise use pumpkin seeds instead.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons olive oil
300g blanched almonds
150g unsalted shelled pistachios
100g watermelon or pumpkin seeds
100g sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon sea salt, or to taste
150g dried sour cherries, diced
150g sultanas
150g small dried wild figs, diced

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. Tip in the almonds and stir until an even golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Wipe out the pan and fry the pistachios until they begin to colour and smell toasty. Shake the pan continuously so they colour evenly. Combine the almonds and pistachios in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Add the watermelon and sunflower seeds to the pan and cook until lightly coloured, shaking the pan continuously. Tip into the nuts, then toss with the salt and leave to cool.
  3. Toss the dried fruit with the cool nuts. Serve straight away or store in an airtight container.
Tags:
Saraban
Malouf
Greg
Lucy
Iran
Iranian
Middle Eastern
Persian
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