Hello everyone and Happy “Yalda“!
Yalda (یلدا) is a name given to the longest night of the year in Persian calendar. Yalda marks the start of winter and every year is celebrated by families coming together to celebrate with Autumn fruits and sweets, music and dance. It is such a beautiful tradition, and one that is not celebrated in many cultures. This night usually falls on December 20th or 21nd each year.
Pomegranates and watermelon are staples of the “Yalda” spread, partly because they are grown and harvested quite well.
Usually fruits are sold freshly harvested from the farm, on the sides of roads between different cities in Iran. In the picture below, there is a sign next to the watermelon ute, which reads: “Watermelon, on knife condition”. This means, the seller will cut the watermelon for you to prove you its ripe and sweet. If it is not, he will not charge you for it. That is the quality of fruit sold in a lot of areas of Iran!
Living in southern hemisphere, my “yalda” night is not the longest of the year! It might be one of the shortest actually as we are having warm summer nights here in Australia. Still, I follow the Persian tradition! 😀
For this year’s yalda, I have made a persian dish, called “Shishlik”. This is the Persian lamb chop. It is traditionally served with saffron rice, grilled tomatoes, capsicums and onions. Also, they are usually cooked on a charcoal barbecue.
My version of it still has the Persian marinade, but is cooked in a frying pan and served with a non-traditional salad. I loved it and that is why I thought it would be worth sharing with you!
I should also mention my good friends and fellow Persian bloggers who have all made amazing Persian dishes for celebration of Yalda. You can find the link to all their recipes here:
Almost forgot some Persian music to dance to while cooking 😆
Hope you enjoy all of our posts! 🙂
6 lamb chops
1 brown onion, grated
1 cup yoghurt
1 tablespoon light olive oil
1 tablespoon of saffron, brewed
Pinch of salt and pepper
- Pour the yoghurt in a jug or cup. Then add the pepper, olive oil, brewed saffron, and lime. Stir to combine.
- Pour the liquid over the lamb chops. Make sure they are covered completely with the marinated. Then cover and refrigerate over night.
- Take the lamb chops out of the marinade and scrape off as much marinade as you can from them (the marinade burns easily in the pan). You can also trim any excess fats from the lamb chops before frying.
- Heat a large frying pan, then add the olive oil and lamb chops.
- Fry for two minutes on one side, then turn to the other side. After another two minutes, turn again and let cook 4-5 minutes before turning one last time and cooking for the last 4-5 minutes. This will make the lamb chops cook well-done.
- I served these with olive and pomegranate salad, with a pomegranate dressing for the salad and the lamb chops. They are both quite easy to make:
- Olive and Pomegranate Salad: Mix arils from half a pomegranate, a few black olives,a handful of chopped parsley and some feta cheese together.
- Pomegranate dressing: Combine juice from half a pomegranate, 1 tablespoon of sugar and juice of half a lime. Then heat on stovetop until the liquid thickens. Drizzle warm on the lamb chops, or once cooled, you can add it to the salad.Enjoy!!! ~~~~~~~ 🙂