Also known as Persian New Year, Nowruz is a spring festival with Zoroastrian roots that dates back some 3,000 years. During the celebration feast, participants dine on fish, pilaf, frittatas, stuffed grape leaves, and more. Sweets, in abundance, cover the holiday table. Home cooks fashion aromatic goodies from ingredients such as flaky pastry dough, honeyed almonds, walnut flour, and toasted seeds. Festive, bite-sized nan-e nokhodchi fit right into the dessert spread. Each crunchy, clover-shaped cookie is decorated with a single roasted pistachio (or sometimes a dusting of ground pistachios). Most tasters, lost in a fragrant whirl of cardamom and rosewater, would never be able to tell that they’re eating garbanzo beans.
Bakers use a fine flour made from roasted chickpeas to give these cookies a melt-in-your-mouth consistency. Though chickpea flour is less readily available than grain flour, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean markets around the world tend to keep it in-supply, meaning anyone can bake these cookies. Like shortbread, the crumbly treats pair perfectly with a cup of hot tea. And, by happenstance, nan-e nokhodchi are gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan, making them delicious and inclusive of many dietarily-restricted diners.
Where to Try It
Caspian Market28 Wilsey Sq, Ridgewood, New Jersey, 07450, United States
This Persian-owned international grocery stocks all kinds of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern specialty goods.