March 13, 2011

Ajil - Persian Mixed Nuts

Ajil-Persian Mixed Nuts

چهارشنبه سوری  Chahar Shanbeh Suri is an ancient Persian tradition that celebrates the eve of the last Wednesday before Nowruz (Persian New Year). The festival usually starts as the sun sets by jumping over small bonfires in open fields and streets, singing, dancing, eating and spending time with friends and family. During the hours leading to the festivities, people gather dried tree branches, twigs and leaves for the bonfire. During the chahar shanbeh suri festival, while people of all ages jump over the fire they will be singing:
زردی من از تو 
سرخی تو از من 
Zardie man az to
Sorkhie to az man

Translation: May my sickly yellowish hue be yours and your reddish shine be mine. Wishing for all the troubles, sadness, gloom and unhappiness to go away and to make room for better and brighter moments in life!

آجیل - Ajil (mixed nuts) are perfect for parties and celebrations. Any combination of almonds, pistachios, cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts, roasted chickpeas, raisins, dried figs, dried white mulberries will be fine. Serving seasoned and toasted seeds such as watermelon and pumpkin seeds are also very common during the celebrations. However, some of the ingredients may vary from one home to another depending on personal taste, preferences and also the availability.

Ajil Persian Mixed Nuts

In our home, our ajil also included cashew nuts which I loved as a kid; I would sit there picking out cashews before the guests arrived and away from my mother's sight! Dried sour cherries were also a very popular snack as a kid and I would take them to school with me everyday and share them with my classmates. But since then chickpeas remain my favorite, next to almonds! However, as you might know, Persian pistachios are among the best pistachios in the world! Aside from being a part of the ajil assortment, pistachios and almonds are also used in Persian cooking. Ajil is a nutritious and healthy snack to take to school, work and long road trips.

Ajil Persian Mixed Nuts

Ajil - Mixed Nuts

1 cup almonds
1 cup cashews 
1 cup chickpeas 
1/2 cup hazelnuts
1 1/2 cups pistachios
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup dried white mulberries
A handful of dried apricots
A handful of dried figs

Mix all ingredients in a large container, gently toss to combine and serve in a large serving bowl. 

Chehel Sotoon's Mural of Chahar Shanbeh Suri, Wikipedia

 Chahar Shanbeh Suri,  Flickr Photo

Enjoy! Happy Chahar Shanbeh Suri!


  1. Sounds like a perfect mix - dried sour cherries add the best pop. Fun festivities are on the way - what wonderful sentiments - may all be better and brighter!

  2. I love ajil! Some time ago, I nicknamed it "Persian Trail Mix."

    I covet the almonds, cherries, and apricots the most.

  3. Ajil sounds delicious, and interesting tradition

  4. very lovely and healty snack :)

  5. Ajil looks sure delicious and very healthy...nice pictures Azita. Have a wonderful week ahead :-)

  6. Love this dish i could eat this all day actually~ I have a book of Persian miniature paintings that your photo reminded me of. Beautiful.

  7. Happy Nowruz! Nowruz Mubarak!
    Wishing you all the best for this new year!
    The nuts mix look delicious :-)

  8. Are there any other customary dishes for Chaharshambeh Suri?

    1. Ash reshteh, Dolmeh (stuffed grape leaves) and Reshteh Polow