This is a caramelized hard sugar candy from the city of Isfahan, located in the central part of Iran. I was ten years old when I first tasted poolaki during one of my family's annual summer travels where we visited the historic city of Isfahan. My parents bought many bags of poolaki as a souvenir (soghati) among many other things that the beautiful city of Isfahan is known for! Poolaki is a sweet candy usually served best along with hot and fresh brewed tea. Poolaki from Isfahan is exceptionally tasty and delicate and no homemade version of it would ever come close to the real thing. However, with the Persian New Year fast approaching I've decided to give it a try! So, this is my attempt at making candy. It may not turn out quite like the authentic poolaki that you might buy from the bazaar in Isfahan, but it's the closest thing to it if you miss having it with your tea during the holiday! This is not a sugar cube to melt quickly in your mouth and it's not that soft to chew or swallow quickly, you need to take time and experience the magic of poolaki. Make yourself a nice cup of fresh brewed tea, take a poolaki, dip the corner of it into the hot tea, place the candy in your mouth, taste the sweetness of it and then take a sip of your tea. Let the bitterness of the tea mix in with the candy, and for a nostalgic moment you'll be walking down those old tree-lined streets of Chahar Bagh among the crowd of early evening shoppers where everyone looks happy! I mentioned a nostalgic moment with a heavy heartfelt wish, didn't I?
Khajoo Bridge, Isfahan, Iran, Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Chehel Sotoun, Isfahan, Iran, Wikipedia
Si-o-se pol (33 bridge), Isfahan, Iran, Wikipedia
Poolaki recipe adapted from Persian Cuisine: Traditional Food/ Book 1 by M.R.Ghanoonparvar
Poolaki: Persian Caramelized Hard Sugar Candy
1 cup sugar
Crushed pistachios, shredded coconuts, powdered saffron, finely crushed dried lemon, barberries (zereshk) (I used shredded coconut).
- In a heavy small pan place a cup of sugar and heat it up on a medium to high heat, stirring frequently.
- When the sugar is melted, swirl it around the pot a couple of times.
- As soon as the syrup turns an amber color, remove from heat.
- Do not over cook and boil the syrup.
- Mix in any of the toppings that you like and quickly, with a tip of a teaspoon, drop the syrup onto a clean and dry baking dish covered with parchment paper.
- An easier variation is to pour the syrup onto the flat baking pan and spread it out.
- When dried, which only takes a few minutes, break it into small pieces by using the back of a heavy spoon or if the pan is flexible move and twist the four corners.
Enjoy and Happy Spring!