When I discover a new cooking show I like, I wave goodbye to my spare time. That’s what happened when I found “Poh & Co.” on Netflix.
The show follows the life of Poh Ling Yeow, a home cook who participated in Australia’s Master Chef competition a while ago. Yeow cooks, spends time with her husband, friends, dogs, and family, travels, installs a backyard garden with a bee hive, and opens a stand at the Adelaide Farmers Market. In short, Poh is my role model.
I want to go to Australia more than ever after watching the series. I think I’d fit in well there because I love warm weather, the beach, fresh produce, AND I like superlatives. Every time Yeow or her friends taste something she makes, they say things like, “Gorgeous!” and “Beautiful!” They have very emphatic reactions to food.
Which brings me to these Persian nuts bars. I was watching one of the last episodes of Season 2 and Yeow started making these bars. It was one of those moments when I instinctually knew that I had to make the recipe.
I gathered the ingredients and made the bars Saturday afternoon. They come together quickly. All you do is chop some nuts, mix them with honey, cardamom, a pinch of salt, and rosewater, and spread them in a small, rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Once the mixture bakes and turns golden brown, you remove it and let it cool in the pan. Make sure you pat it down with the back of a spoon or spatula. This will make the nuts meld together more and will create firmer bars.
I omitted a couple ingredients that Yeow used in her original recipe including saffron and orange zest. The orange zest didn’t make it in because I forgot about it, but unless you’re a big fan of citrus, I don’t think you need it. I omitted the saffron because I didn’t want to shell out the extra cash for it. I will only spring for saffron on very special occasions or dishes such as paella, where it’s an integral element.
Anyway. The bars didn’t lack for orange or saffron. They were delicious. In fact, they’re one of the best things I’ve ever made. I know I say that often so it’s hard to believe me, but in this case it’s true. The crunchy, slightly caramelized nuts, sweet honey, pinch of salt, spicy cardamom, and fragrant rosewater create bars that are good for a snack or a meal. I could see having a couple for breakfast or taking them on a hike.
Here’s a song to get you started on your Persian Nut Bar journey. It’s from one of my favorite Australian musicians.
Persian Nut Bars (adapted from Poh Ling Yeow)
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped
1/2 cup pistachio kernels, roughly chopped
1 cup sunflower kernels
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp rosewater
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 10 inch by 6 inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper so some of the paper hangs over the edges. You’ll need this later to remove the bar mixture from the pan.
Mix the almonds, pistachios, sunflower kernels, cardamom, and coconut together in a large bowl. Heat the honey in a small saucepan until it’s warmed through. DO NOT let it boil.
Mix the rosewater and salt into the nut mixture and then add the honey. Use a spatula to make sure all the nuts are evenly coated with honey.
Spread the mixture into the prepared baking sheet and pan down with the back of a wooden spoon or spatula to make sure it’s evenly distributed.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until the top of the mixture is golden brown. Remove from the oven and pat down firmly with the back of a wooden spoon or a spatula. This will ensure that the nuts meld together and will create firmer bars.
Allow the mixture to cool completely on the baking sheet. Once cool, remove the mixture from the sheet by carefully pulling up the sides of the parchment paper. Place the rectangle on a cutting board and cut it into bars.
Store the bars in an airtight container at room temperature. Enjoy!