Sohan Asali - Persian Honey and Saffron Almond Candy



This past weekend marked my third year anniversary blogging about Persian cuisine, which is the kind of food I grew up with and to this day love to make all the time and gladly share it with you. When I ventured into the world of food blogging I never thought that one day I would be celebrating my blog's 3rd anniversary! The title of my blog, "Turmeric and Saffron" best describes my late mother's kitchen, with her spice jars and herb bottles everywhere on the counter and shelves, except for her small container of deep red saffron threads from Mashhad tucked away in a cupboard. Among the blend of intoxicating aromas in our ashpaz-khaneh (kitchen) there were various yellow turmeric-stained wooden spatulas, mismatched kitchen rags, her favorite plasco plastic containers and an array of over-sized pots and pans. Then there she was, in the middle of the kitchen meticulously preparing food for her family while beautifully humming a tune by one of her favorite singers such as Delkash, Elaheh and Marzieh.


Almost every meal that we ate at home was cooked by my mother from start to finish, since she would not allow any helpers to cook for us. She was very picky when it would come to cooking and eating. Of course baking was an exception to this rule. My mother would use zardchoobeh (turmeric) extensively to enhance the flavor and improve the aroma of meat dishes, stews and any recipe that involved using lamb or chicken. When making the traditional abgousht/abgoosht (lamb stew) she would add a full teaspoon of turmeric to the boiling water before adding the lamb shanks and the other ingredients, a cooking technique that I only saw in her kitchen. Zaferan (saffron) on the other hand was used in most rice dishes and some sweets such as shole-zard to give a bold flavor, gorgeous natural orange-reddish color and a delicious aroma. She would usually pour a estekan (small tea cup) of saffron-water mixture over the parboiled rice in the pot before placing the towel covered lid back on the pot to steam. My mother had a vast knowledge of herbal medicine, plants, food ingredients as well as how to make healthy food choices. It is not only writing down my mother's recipes and my memories of growing up in Iran that bring me joy and keep me connected to my roots but more importantly it's the simple sharing of my mother's recipes that I find even more fulfilling.


For this sweet occasion I am making this wonderful candy that is nice to serve with a hot fresh brewed cup of tea. For best results I recommend using butter instead of vegetable oil. Even though flavored honey is not used in making this candy I like to use the orange blossom honey for an added flavor. I would also like to lightly toast the slivered almonds to improve the aroma and the taste. While cooking, the content becomes very hot so it would be wonderful if someone could give you a hand at the end when you are dropping the spoonful of the hot mixture onto the parchment paper since it dries quickly and you still need to sprinkle the ground pistachios on top. Otherwise, you've got to be very quick.


Sohan Asali - Persian Honey and Saffron Almond Candy

Ingredients:
Makes about 20 pieces

1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons honey
1 cup slivered almonds
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons rose water
1/2 teaspoon saffron powder
1/4 cup pistachios, crushed for garnish

Method:
  1. Cover a large baking tray with parchment paper and leave the crushed pistachios nearby.
  2. In a medium sized heavy pot combine sugar, honey, oil and rose water on medium heat for about 5-7 minutes or until sugar is completely dissolved. Stir and swirl the pot around a few times.
  3. Lower the heat and add in the almonds into the sugar mixture, stir frequently, cook for another 7-10 minutes or until they turn light golden.
  4. Add the crushed saffron and gently stir with a wooden spoon.
  5. When the almonds are well coated with this caramel color syrup, start spooning out the mixture on the parchment paper as quickly as you can and sprinkle the pistachios on top. Allow them to cool completely.
  6. Remove the sohan asali from the tray, store in an airtight container and serve them the next day.
Serve with a hot cup of tea.

* I have tweaked and made some minor changes to the original recipe. I have cut the amount of sugar and made it vegan.

Enjoy!

31 comments:

  1. ooh..thank you for recipe,i've been looking around for this candy.my daughter loves so much.
    *I just wonder, when you gonna publish persian cook book,Azita ? :)

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  2. What wonderful memories of your mother you share with us. I hope my children think of my in our home kitchen also "loving" them with food. It really isn't a chore to cook good food for people you love!!

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  3. Fitri, thanks so much! You're very kind. :)
    Jkanaz, thank you so much for your sweet words.

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  4. Congratulation on your third anniversary, Azita! I've learned a lot from your recipes and descriptions and always enjoy the accompanying stories.

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  5. Heidi, thank you so much for your kind words and support!

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  6. I love them, thank you. See you.

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  7. each time when I read your recipes I miss more Iran. I even dont mind my mother in law shouthing at me "bohor, bohor" (I hope Ive written good). I will do it for Xmas for hubby. Thanks for a great recipe.

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  8. I have never visited Iran nor had I ever had a meal prepared by an Iranian, but I am totally drawn by its cuisine and culture. So thank you for keeping up with this blog. I've learned a lot from it, and I really enjoy the stories from your family you share with us.

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  9. I was looking for almond brittle recipes when I stumbled upon this. Having a bit of saffron threads, I thought intensely about making this. But, I don't have saffron powder, just threads. Will that work, too?

    Thank you - and your photo of the heart-shaped sohan looks beautiful!

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  10. Anonymous, thanks for giving this recipe a try. You're going to love it! You can crush the saffron threads into powder by using a small mortar and pestle grinder.

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  11. A wonderful candy that I would love to taste; your memories of your mother are so precious and lovely to share them with your readers/ she sounds like a truly special woman, a foodie before her time/

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  12. I just whipped up a batch, and it's cooling in the kitchen right now. Ooooh, I can't wait to taste it!

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  13. This looks amazing Azita. I can't wait to try.

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  14. Oh my gosh, I can't believe I haven't found your blog until now! I can't wait to try your recipes! I think I'm going to make this one as part of our holiday feast!

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  15. the sohan looks delicious. can't wait to try making it. great site by the way, you have a new follower in me!

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  16. Never tried this tyoe of candy before but tasted something similar with pistachios and honey...this one is awesome Happy Holidays!!

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  17. Oh, wow, these look so special and I love the rosewater, and of course the saffron.

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  18. Happy Bloggingversary! This is how sohun is made? Wow,I always thought is more complicated.Now I don't need to wait to have it posted,I can make it myself.Thanks a lot for posting this.

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  19. salaam...mash'Allah...very nice. Looks more like polaki to me than sohan...but maybe ive never had sohan asali before (could be from a diff area of Iran than my family is from)...Im going to attempt the traditional Qom style Sohan this evening...everyone is waited with bated breath...LOL. Its really expensive to buy here in the US...so hey, why not! Im on summer vacation. I may sometime this ramazan try this type of shirin for tea...we'll see. If you come across a good sohan recipe do let me know...its hard pinning down exact quantities to use as everyone uses a diff manner of doing it...LOL...a soup khori here or a ghashooq there...who knows! LOL

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  20. First time I made these it was perfect, very easy and tasted lovely..now second time i managed to BURN the sugar mixture!! it failed big time!!:( what did I do wrong i didnt check it for 10 minutes but it was suppose to stir for 15-20 minutes..maybe its the pot i used it was not the same as the other time. but it didnt burn to the pot just the mix itself.

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  21. Thank You Azita.
    I also madde it first time and it was very delicious and pretty easy.
    I reallyl miss sohan e qom,maybe you also know how to make that?

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  22. I made this for the first time everything is fine, except I think the 10 min cooking with Almond is too much as mine was burnt.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment. I made the necessary changes in the post and reduced the amount of cooking time.

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    2. Thanks alor for the change. I really enjoy your blog and I hope to see more recipe.

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  23. I made this and it turned out hard as rock.

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  24. Dear Azita, I can claim that I am a very good chef when it comes to Persian cooking but, I have to admit it that your Sohan Asali's recipe was awesome. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

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    Replies
    1. How I can have the original recipe, I made that one last year and liked it better than this one, is there anyway that you could send it to me.
      Thanks a lot

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  25. If I want to add butter instead of oil what would be the changes?

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  26. You can use the same amount, 3 tablespoons of butter.

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