Haft Mewa literally translates as “Seven Fruits” and is a fruit salad made for Nowruz (Afghan New Year) from seven dried fruits and nuts. The dried fruits and nuts are usually walnuts, almonds, pistachio, hazelnuts, senjet (a type of dried cherry), dried apricots, and raisins. Haft Mewa is more than a simple fruit salad, it’s preparation is done very carefully as Afghans believe that if the Haft Mewa comes out correctly then their family will have good luck for the year. It is believed that not everyone can prepare Haft Mewa; some families have good luck and are able to make it while others follow the exact same steps but their Haft Mewa spoils in the two to three days of chilling that is required. I am not sure if this is simply superstition, but my mom believes in it and for the first time this year she had me help her prepare the Haft Mewa hoping it would bring me good luck. Before we put all the fruits and nuts together my mother made sure to do a prayer and Bismillah with the addition of each component. It may seem a bit superstitious, but Nowruz is full of these kinds of beliefs about ensuring good luck for the coming year. The trickiest part of preparing the Haft Mewa is that all of the nuts must soak in water overnight so the skin can easily be removed. My mom recalls my Bibi (grandmother) staying up all night some years just removing the skin of the nuts. Blanched almonds make the process easier, and the pistachio skin comes off easily, but the walnuts take forever. Every year I remember steering clear of my mom as she would skin the walnuts, because she would continuously mutter under her breath that this was the last year she would prepare this time-consuming dish, but her frustration would be forgotten within a few days when we would eat the Haft Mewa. The dried fruit salad is extremely refreshing and the combination of nuts and dried fruits makes for a delicious contrast of sweet and crunchy.
-Dried Apricot (make sure they are sweet)
-Senjet (Dried Cherries)
-Raisins (Green and Black)
1- ) Soak the walnuts and pistachios overnight in water. The next night remove the skin for all of the walnuts and pistachio. The pistachio skin comes off easily, but the walnut skin requires a bit more effort.
3- ) Boil enough water so it will cover all of the dried fruit and nuts. Then cool the boiled water to room temperature. Make sure to rinse all of the nuts in water so they are clean.
4- ) In a large pot place the walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, blanched almonds, dried apricot, and senjet all together. Pour the cooled boiled water so it covers about two inches above the fruit and nuts. You can add a little bit of rosewater as well, but I think it takes away from the natural flavors of the druit salad. Cover the pot and place in the fridge for about two to three days.
5- ) The night before you serve the Haft Mewa, add the raisins both green and black. Let the fruit salad chill overnight, and then serve.
And just in case anyone is wondering my mom’s Haft Mewa came out delicious, so I hope it does bring us and all the other families who prepared it some good luck :-).