Church & State

What to cook for Nowruz, the Persian and Zoroastrian New Year celebration

What to cook for Nowruz, the Persian and Zoroastrian New Year celebration

On Sunday, 71-year-old Shamsi Katebi will be in her West Los Angeles kitchen, bossing around one of the best chefs in the city. She’s the mother-in-law of Tony Esnault, chef-owner of the downtown restaurants Spring and Church and State. Her daughter is Esnault’s wife and business partner, Yassmin Sarmadi. Katebi is also the matriarch of an Iranian American family, tasked with preparing a traditional meal for Nowruz, the Persian and Zoroastrian New Year.

For Iranians, the 13-day festivities — Nowruz, also spelled Nerwoz or Noroz, translates to “new day” in Farsi — begin at the exact moment that spring starts. This year, it’s at precisely 3:28 a.m. on Monday morning. The holiday, also...

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