This post is part of the World Cup for Kids project from Multicultural Kid Blogs. Each time Iran plays, I will be doing a post on some aspect of that country’s culture. Today I am sharing some summer treats inspired by Persian cooking!
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Some of my best memories from childhood are of Persian cooking – delicious rice dishes (mmm, tahdig!) and delicately spiced sweet treats. But integral to this was the hospitality and generosity inherent in Persian culture. Years later, when I was a homesick college student, this would mean even more, as Persian mothers in our local Bahá’í community would graciously take us in and feed us heaping quantities of delicious food, as we basked in their attention. (Btw, if you are so lucky as to be invited to dine at a Persian home, you will quickly learn that it is futile to refuse any food or drink, no matter how full you are! It is best to surrender to your fate and just enjoy yourself completely :)).
Because it is summer (and because I am a fraidy cat about attempting Persian cooking!) I decided to try some cool treats with my kids. For this I drew from a wonderful cookbook by Najmieh Batmanglij, the woman considered by many to be the best expert on Persian cooking. She has many great cookbooks, but for this I used Happy Nowruz: Cooking with Children to Celebrate the Persian New Year. Yes, I know that the Persian New Year (celebrated on the first day of spring) has already passed, but she has great kid-friendly recipes in here that can be enjoyed year round. (For another great source of Persian dishes, try My Persian Kitchen!)
Her pomegranate popsicle recipe is super easy – but when I spied the ready-made pomegranate drink on the shelf at the store, I decided to make things even easier by just using this to make popsicles, rather than making my own batch from pomegranate juice, lime juice, etc. Next time I would like to try her full version, but for now this was just right for us.
I will warn you that these are a mess! That beautiful deep ruby color is not so pretty when seen on your furniture, so I would recommend enjoy these treats outside! Even so, my Monkey looked more like a wolf pup when he was feasting on these, with the dark red liquid dripping down his little chin.
For the next treat I deviated completely from her recipe, simply because we do not have an ice cream maker. We do, however, have a Yonanas Ice Cream Treat Maker, which makes it easy
to make healthy frozen treats for your kids. (You can also make the recipe below with a high quality blender, though I prefer the Yonanas). The key to making this diary-free “ice cream” is bananas. (Not in Ms. Bajmanglij’s original recipe!) The flavor really isn’t very strong, but the bananas really add a great creamy texture that mimics real ice cream.
Inspired by Persian sweets, I decided to add pistachios, plus some cardamom and rose water. The pistachios were easy to find (especially here in California!), and the cardamom and rose water are sold at many ethnic grocery stores. We found ours at the Indian store nearby. (Now I can make this rose water cheesecake I’ve been drooling over for quite a while!)
Dairy-Free Pistachio Ice Cream
*Note* The proportions are all to taste, particularly for the flavorings. If you are not familiar with them, I would suggest just adding a bit at a time and taste as you go.
3 very ripe bananas, cut into chunks and frozen
1/4 c. unsalted, shelled pistachios (can freeze these as well)
Dash of cardamom
Splash of cooking rose water
Mix bananas and pistachios in your Yonanas or blender. Add cardamom and rose water to taste.
Enjoy while watching some World Cup soccer!