Haft Mewa (Seven Fruits)
Haft mewa, which means seven fruits in Persian, is a symbolic compote of dried fruits and nuts traditionally prepared for Afghan Nowruz, the celebration of the new year and vernal equinox. Durkhania Ayubi shared this version in her cookbook, “Parwana: Recipes and Stories From an Afghan Kitchen.” She received the recipe from her mother, Farida Ayubi, who grew up making it in Afghanistan and continued the tradition with her family in their adopted home of Adelaide, Australia. Different types of nuts and fruits, which sometimes number more than seven despite the dish’s name, are soaked in water for two days to allow the fruits to plump up and release their natural juices. The nuts are peeled so they don’t make the syrup bitter and murky.
- Serves: 6 persons
- ⅓cup/50 grams whole raw almonds
- 6tablespoons/50 grams shelled raw pistachios
- ½cup/50 grams walnut halves (optional; see Tip)
- 1cup/150 grams golden raisins, rinsed
- ⅓cup/50 grams dried large apricots, about 8, rinsed
- ⅓cup/50 grams black raisins, rinsed
- ⅓cup/50 grams senjed (oleaster), about 25, rinsed (see Tip)
- ¼cup/50 grams whole dried sour apricots with seeds, about 10, rinsed (see Tip)
Step 1Bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Place each variety of nut in a separate medium heatproof bowl and cover each variety with some of the just-boiled water. Soak the almonds and pistachios for about 1 hour, and soak the walnuts overnight (if using) to help the skins peel off. Almond and pistachio skins slip off fairly easily; walnuts take more effort. Once the skins are softened, drain the nuts and use your fingers to rub off the skins. Rinse the peeled nuts and place them all in one bowl.
Step 2In a medium pot with a lid, bring 5 cups of water to a boil. Remove from the heat and carefully add the nuts and all of the dried fruits to the pot. Cover and set aside to cool at room temperature. Once cool, cover and refrigerate for 48 hours to allow the flavors to fully develop.
Step 3Serve chilled, ladling some syrupy soaking liquid into each bowl. Be mindful that the senjed and whole dried apricots have seeds. Haft mewa will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.