What Is Reshteh?

Eugene P.
Eugene P.
Woman baking cookies
Woman baking cookies

Reshteh is the Persian word for "noodle."‭ ‬Originally,‭ ‬it was the only word in the language that was used to denote that type of food and did not describe a particular shape or recipe.‭ ‬There are several types of noodles‭ ‬that can be considered reshteh,‭ ‬including a very thin noodle not unlike angel hair pasta.‭ ‬In some dishes,‭ ‬it refers to a freshly made, wide,‭ ‬flat egg noodle.‭ ‬Many ancient and traditional Persian dishes are made using this noodle,‭ ‬especially ones that celebrate the‭ ‬Persian‭ ‬New Year.‭

The reshteh is produced in a similar way to any other pasta or noodle.‭ ‬It is a combination of‭ ‬either‭ ‬eggs or water ‬and flour that is kneaded and rolled until long gluten strands are developed.‭ ‬The dough is then cut into whatever size and shape are desired and, if not being used right away, left to dry.

Before being used in a dish,‭ ‬the noodles are usually broken into smaller pieces.‭ These pieces are fried until they begin to brown in the pan.‭ ‬The noodles can then be added to rice or the rest of the dish.‭ ‬This type of preparation, however, can‭ ‬be done‭ ‬only‭ ‬with freshly made noodles.

Reshteh poloh is the name of a popular dish that combines rice with roasted noodles.‭ ‬It is often served just before Norouz,‭ ‬the Persian‭ ‬New Year.‭ ‬This simple dish begins by roasting the noodles,‭ ‬which are then called reshteh poloee.‭ They are cooked in water with‭ ‬the rice,‭ ‬along with dates and spices such as saffron,‭ ‬turmeric and cinnamon.‭ ‬The mixture is cooked slowly and served with‭ ‬sliced‭ ‬almonds sprinkled on top.

Ash reshteh is one of the most popular Persian dishes in some Middle Eastern countries.‭ ‬The dish is a thick soup,‭ ‬which is what "ash" means in Farsi.‭ ‬It is made with beans,‭ ‬dried meats,‭ ‬spices and noodles.‭ ‬The ingredients are combined and yogurt is sometimes added.

A special symbolic meaning‭ ‬is attached to reshteh‭ ‬when it is served to someone before a journey or before a change.‭ ‬The symbolism comes from the long shape of the noodles,‭ ‬which becomes representational of‭ ‬the‭ ‬reins on a horse.‭ ‬It symbolizes that the person is taking control of the reins of his or her life.

In Iranian cuisine,‭ ‬the noodles are often formed into thick,‭ ‬long strips so ‬they are able to hold up to extended cooking times in soups and stews.‭ ‬The angel hair variety is used mainly in dishes that are‭ ‬drier.‭ ‬Reshteh can refer to any‭ ‬type of‭ ‬noodle,‭ ‬so there are many‭ ‬shapes and lengths available under this name.

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