Middle Eastern

Ring in 1396 with a Feast from Our Test Kitchen

March 13, 2017

We've got about a week until Norooz, the Persian New Year, which means only a few days left in the year 1395 and just enough time to begin planning the feast and setting the table.

Norooz marks both the beginning of a new year and the beginning of spring for Iranian families and others all over the world; thirteen days of celebrations follow, filled with lots of visiting of family members and friends, spring cleaning, good luck-wishing, and eating.

Though not a food-centered holiday, fragrant rice, sticky baklava, roasted fish, and bright herbs fill feast tables—including the one that our test kitchen duo, Sara Jenkins and Josh Cohen dreamed up with the help of Louisa Shafia, Persian cooking expert and author of the Piglet-winning The New Persian Kitchen, and Food52 community member shayma.

The Norooz table, set with some of the Haft Seen (Seven "S"s). Photo by James Ransom

Celebrate with us! Read about our Advertising Coordinator Zoe's favorite Norooz traditions, make a big pan of rosewater-slicked baklava, and eat very well with your favorite people (out of doors, if springy weather has arrived in your neighborhood).

How many of the seven "S"s of Norooz can you find in the menu below?

Need a refresher? Those are sofreh (a dining cloth), sabzeh (wheat, barley, or herbs) for rebirth, samanu (a sweet pudding) for affluence, senjed (oleaster) for love, sir (garlic) for medicine, sib (apple) for health, somaq (sumac) for patience or the red of the sunrise, and serkeh (vinegar) for satisfaction or fortitude.

Are you celebrating Norooz? Share your traditions (and menu!) in the comments!

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Amanda
  • Transcendancing
  • Foozy Khosrovani
    Foozy Khosrovani
  • ChefJune
  • Negar
Writing and cooking in Brooklyn.


Amanda March 18, 2016
I love Persian food, it's flavorful and healthy, so nice to see that you circle the world for interesting dishes and flavor profiles. As a graduate of culinary school I relish the thought of trying new recipes. I lived in Iran for awhile and so know authentic Iranian cuisine. Thank you again for an informative article.
Transcendancing March 16, 2016
I was so delighted to see this article in my inbox! I love that you do write ups for all kinds of special events, but it is especially awesome when more diverse cultural backgrounds are included. The US, like Australia has so many people from different cultural backgrounds and so often that brings *awesome* food sharing opportunities. But also the opportunity to connect and understand people better - I like that. Great effort with this, please do continue things like this, I think they're so important in bringing people together, genuinely.
Negar March 17, 2016
I couldn't agree with you more. ??
Foozy K. March 16, 2016
but that's not persian norooz food!!! that's just everyday stuff
Transcendancing March 16, 2016
I would love to know what dishes would be served specifically for Norooz?
Tanya W. March 16, 2016
You didn't say what is Norooz food then!
al W. March 17, 2016
Can you give us an idea as to true norooz food?
ChefJune March 16, 2016
Ah, I love Persian food. Back when I lived in Chicago we had a little neighborhood restaurant called The B.A.R. Association that served Persian food in their outdoor garden in the good weather.
Negar March 16, 2016
Such brilliant recepies??????
Also brilliant for our little ones and teens to learn a bit about their heritage and traditions. Food 52 we love you!