Dried fruit and nuts are among some of the most important ingredients used during the Passover holiday. Usually some kind of dried fruit (such as raisins, dates, apricots, or figs) is blended with a variety of nuts (such as walnuts, almonds, or pistachios) to make charoset. Other times nuts are ground up finely to replace flour in cakes. In Iran, it is not uncommon to serve Ajeel, small bowls of nuts mixed with raisins, as a snack before or during the Seder, or as part of dessert along with fresh fruit. Like a Persian “Trail Mix,” Ajeel can be a mixture of walnuts, pistachios, almonds, dried roasted chickpeas, dried mulberries, and almost always maveez (Iranian golden raisins). When I was in Great Neck, Long Island recently (cooking a Passover rice dish with an Afghani-Bukharian woman) I was lucky enough to stop into a small Iranian grocery store before jumping on the train back to Manhattan. I grabbed a bag of maveez, as well as fresh dates and roasted chickpeas (all of which the owner hinted at having been “smuggled” in from Iran by unknown sources). I noticed that the shape of the maveez were slightly more elongated, and more chewy/less sticky than the ones found here in the United States. When combined with the dried chickpeas the textures and flavors were addictive.
Beautiful photo Jennifer and you really have captured the culture of the Persians.
Thank you Dahlia! If you take any nice photos of your Seder, please send one to me and I will post it on the blog for others to see as well!