As a first generation Iranian American, my ties to my country’s roots run deep. I have constantly looked for ways to better connect with my culture and heritage—from celebrating Persian holidays, listening to music, watching films, feasting on Persian cuisine, and learning to read and write in Farsi. Nothing has been more fulfilling for me than preparing and serving Persian food. A world-famous part of Persian culture is hospitality. We always honor our guests with 110% effort and respect.

Coffee and desserts are something that have always brought people together, so I thought, why not combine these two things and put a twist on a classic family favorite? So, I created a drink inspired by the flavors of Bastani Sonati, which is literally translated to “traditional ice cream”. Bastani Sonati is deeply rooted in and cherished by Persian culture. It reminds many of their childhood memories—carefree, exuberant, and wholesome. The floral, round pistachio-saffron notes are playful on the tongue. Paired with espresso, it creates a sweet, caffeinated treat.

We can’t have Persian food and culture without first talking about the people it stems from; all they have fought for and continue to fight for today. Since September 16, 2022, Iran has been in the minds and mouths of many.

On that day, Iran’s “Morality Police” took the life of a young 22-year-old Kurdish woman, Jhina “Mahsa” Amini. Jhina had been arrested for allegedly violating Iran’s strict mandatory hijab rule for women. She was beaten by the police and later died in custody.  The Iranian people then took to the streets in protest.  The first protests to follow occurred at Jhina’s funeral in Saqqez, Iran where women ripped off their headscarves in solidarity. Since then, there have been over a thousand protests globally.

During these protests women are setting their headscarves on fire and cutting their hair. They chant: “Zan, Zendegi, Azadi” (inspired by the Kurdish slogan “Jin, Jiyan, Azadi,” which translates to “Woman, Life, Freedom”). Young schoolgirls are demonstrating in classrooms, on playgrounds, and side by side with women on the streets. The amount of support for these women is unprecedented, with teenage boys and men also protesting in solidarity.

This is Iran’s largest civil rights movement since 1979. The biggest difference between the two is that this movement has gone international. Social media empowers us to educate one another on important human rights issues and share the stories of those without a voice. So, with this, I share the story of these brave Iranian women with you. I share this story through words but also through my love for coffee and its power to bring us together.

You may ask: “What are things that I can do to help?” And to that I say, this! What you are doing right now. Taking your time to read and learn about what’s going on. Continuing to share this story online and show that we are not looking away from the atrocities that the Iranian government is putting their people through. Because people have shared these stories daily, political leaders in every country and the UN have started paying attention. So, keep sharing, keep listening, and keep paying attention. Have coffee and conversation about it. Take some time to learn.

Here are two accounts you can follow for the latest updates in Iran:

Middle East Matters

1500tasvir (English)

To the Iranian people, I stand with you. You are loved. I hear you, I feel you, I see you and I won’t stop fighting for you.

Zan Zendegi Azadi

 

Bastani Sonati Latte Recipe

Ingredients Needed:

30 g Heavy Cream (Alt milk can be used as well)

2 g Rose Water

10 g Pistachio-Saffron Syrup

0.5g Vanilla Bean Syrup

2 oz Espresso

Aryan’s Pistachio-Saffron Syrup

Ingredients Needed:

– Pinch of Saffron
– 1 cup brown sugar
– 1 cup water
– 1 cup Pistachios (unsalted, no shell)

Assembly:

  • Take a pinch of saffron & steep in warm water for ~10 minutes
  • Roughly chop 1 cup of pistachios
  • Prepare a 1:1 simple syrup, boil water, mix sugar, place on low simmer

* Add the saffron, and pistachios

  • Simmer on low for 12-15 minutes
  • Remove from heat, allow to rest and cool
  • Put cooled syrup into fridge overnight with pistachios/saffron and all overnight
  • Next day: strain into separate container and serve!

With the remainder of pistachios, you can make candied pistachios (just like in our previous pistachio latte recipe blog) or use it as a topping if you make some baklava (I have tried this before, and it was delicious).

Enjoy, and remember to share with friends!

 

words by Aryan R. of Baratza, 2022.