Sohan originated from Qom, Iran, and it’s a traditional Persian saffron brittle toffee. It was first introduced at a grand opening ceremony of the court hall of Hazrat Masoumeh (1289-1920 A.H.), where the fourth Shah (or King) of Iran, Naset al-Din Shah Qajar, was expected to attend. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to make it, however, he sent his successor, who was the Head of the Qajar tribe.
His successor was bestowed with gifts by the elders of Qom that would be passed on to the King. One of the gifts were from Mulla Brahim Shamai, who presented halva with sugar sprinkled on top. The Head of the Qajar was claimed to say, "This sweet cut and digested my food just like a Sohan that polishes and sharpens iron," when he got a taste of the dessert--basically comparing it to a rasp file.
He then brought the dessert back to the King because of its exceptional taste. Ever since then, more people started consuming Sohan, which began as a dish reserved for elders and nobles.
Photo credit: Zozo Baking
A source said that the first sohan was made by the wife of an ordinary Iranian man named Hossein Baba. Interestingly, this dessert was exclusively made by women and it would be done in the comfort of their homes. The sohan would then be delivered to stores to be sold. This dessert continued to be made by women because there was a belief that if a man was present in the kitchen while a woman was making sohan, the sohan would end up spoiled. To add to that, the women also didn’t want anyone to know the secret formula that was being used. This secret formula would be passed down from generation to generation.
You may be wondering what the secret formula is. Well, it had something to do with the way they weigh their ingredients. They would use anything from stones to shoes–it differs from person to person, so you can never know. As for the ingredients to make sohan, you can read them below!
Photo credit: Hanie Rahmati/TasteIran
There are various types of sohan depending on which city it's made in Iran. The one that Nasel al-Din Shah Qajar favoured was the Sohan Halwa. Other sohan include Sohan Asali or honeyed brittle, sesame brittle, and Sohan Gaz or gaz brittle.
Photo credit: Kevin is Cooking
On this blog, you will learn how to make Golden Saffron Sohan, a delicious Persian sweet treat known for its rich flavours and unique texture. It's often made with saffron and a combination of nuts and honey.
For the Saffron Syrup:
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
- 2 tablespoons hot water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
For the Sohan:
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 cups roasted mixed nuts (almonds, pistachios, and walnuts), coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- A pinch of salt
Photo credit: Ahu Eats
1. Prepare the Saffron Syrup:
- In a small bowl, dissolve the saffron threads in 2 tablespoons of hot water. Let it steep and infuse for about 10-15 minutes.
- In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and 1/4 cup water. Bring it to a boil and cook until it reaches a syrupy consistency.
- Add the saffron infusion to the syrup, stir well, and set aside to cool.
2. Prepare the Sohan Mixture:
- In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
- Add the sugar and honey to the melted butter. Stir constantly until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture becomes smooth.
- Stir in the chopped mixed nuts and ground cardamom. Cook for a few more minutes, allowing the nuts to absorb the flavours.
3. Baking Soda and Flour:
- Dissolve the baking soda in 1 tablespoon of hot water and add it to the nut mixture. Stir well.
- Gradually add the flour and continue to stir until the mixture thickens and starts to pull away from the sides of the pan. This should take about 10-15 minutes.
4. Shape the Sohan:
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Pour the hot Sohan mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.
- Using a spatula or your hands (use caution, as the mixture will be hot), flatten and shape it into a rectangular or square shape, about 1/2 inch thick. You can also use a greased knife to score the top into diamond shapes, making it easier to cut once it cools.
5. Pour Saffron Syrup:
- While the Sohan is still warm, pour the saffron syrup evenly over the top. Allow the syrup to soak into the Sohan for at least 2-3 hours, or until it has completely cooled and set.
- Once the Sohan has cooled and hardened, cut it into small diamond or square-shaped pieces along the score lines.
- Serve your Golden Saffron Sohan as a delightful sweet treat with a cup of tea or coffee.
Enjoy your homemade Golden Saffron Sohan! It's a delightful Persian dessert that's perfect for special occasions or as a sweet indulgence anytime.
You can also shop three of the ingredients on our website!