The Jew And The Carrot

Honoring Family Traditions: A Persian Rosh Hashanah Feast

By Devra Ferst

  • Print
  • Share Share

This year the final iftar, or breakfast for Muslims who celebrate Ramadan, falls on the evening of the first day of Rosh Hashanah. Iftar culinary traditions vary widely, much like those for Rosh Hashanah, depending upon the community where it is celebrated and the local foods.

Louisa Shafia, author of “Lucid Food: Cooking for an Eco-Conscious Life,” whose father is from Iran and is Muslim, and whose mother’s family is Jewish and from Eastern Europe, grew up with both holidays and celebrated with dishes from both heritages.

“My dad is from Iran, and when I was little my mom really wanted to cook the dishes he grew up with – stews, a lot of rice, lots of fresh fruit and nuts,” Shafia says. It was “always about fresh and healthy food.”

Her family culinary traditions have continued and, though Shafia says her family is not particularly religiously observant anymore, they still celebrate holidays with a delicious meal. “When my family celebrates Rosh Hashanah this year it will really be about getting together and having a special meal and thinking about the New Year,” she says. Her dinner will combine her family’s culinary legacies in a Persian-inspired Rosh Hashanah feast.

Iranian Jewish culinary traditions have links to both Ashkenazic and Sephardic customs, and include unique dishes of their own as well. “If you were in Iran on Rosh Hashanah you would eat chives, apples, honey, zucchini, black eyed peas, beef tongue or meat from a sheep’s head beet root, dates and pomegranate,” Shafia explains.

Drawing inspiration from Jewish and Persian cuisines, her dinner will consist of fesenjan, a traditional persian chicken stew made with pomegranate syrup and beets, green rice flavored with dill, cilantro, parsley and saffron and Indian-inspired chickpea fritters served with a honey-lime sauce. And for dessert, she will serve apples and pears poached in orange blossom water, to ring in a sweet New Year.

Recipes for Louisa Shafia’s Rosh Hashanah Dinner:

Fesenjan (Chicken in Pomegranate Walnut Sauce)

Green Rice

Chickpea Cakes with Lime Honey Dipping Sauce

Poached Apples and Pears in Orange Blossom Water

All recipes are reprinted or adapted with permission from Lucid Food: Cooking for an Eco-Conscious Life by Louisa Shafia, copyright © 2010. Published by Ten Speed Press. Available January 2010.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Rosh Hashanah, Lucid Food, Louisa Shafia, Iran, Iftar

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.