Thursday, January 20, 2022

“Reshteh Polo”, Yalda Night’s dinner in old Tehran

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Perhaps many among the current residents of Tehran do not know that Reshteh Polo, or Persian noodle rice, has been a regular dinner for old residents of Tehran, who were both gastronomes and good-timers, but at the same time easygoing and frugal, on Yalda Night.

Of course, residents of Tehran’s Shemiran Neighborhood and people, who had migrated to Tehran from other cities, had their own cuisine for the last night of autumn, Yalda. But the food for the night was Reshteh Polo in Tehran.

The Reshteh Polo prepared for Shab-e-Chelleh or what is called Yalda Night in Tehran, did not feature chicken or meatballs. It was rather eaten together with dried apricots and grape honey and anyone, who did not like it that way, went for dates and sugar powder.

Yalda Night

How to make Reshteh Polo for Yald Night:

Put rice, left to soak in salt water, into water and boil. Then add thin roasted noodles and let them boil with the rice for a few minutes. Make sure the mixture is heated only for long enough for the noodle not to turn soft. Then rinse the mixture and put in a pot where the bottom is greased with a mix of water and cooking oil and is covered with bread. Then also add a mix of water and cooking oil on top. The old practice was roasting the dried apricot in cooking oil and putting it inside the pot, next to the rice, and letting them steam together.

How to Serve:

Place the dried apricot inside the Reshteh Polo and top with a mixture of heated butter and turmeric. It was old practice to add white grape honey stirred in hot cooking oil and serving it with the Reshteh Polo.

Old people of Tehran also served dried and roasted seeds from spring and summer fruit such as watermelon, apricot and melon as refreshments during Shab-e-Chelleh.

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