Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Persian Nougat- Gaz-گز

On the eve of the last Wednsday of the year, just before Naw Ruz, a special event dating back to Zoroastrian times takes place in Iran. The excitment builds up days before it and planning starts a few days ahead. Of course, food playes a big part in this event and most of the planning involves soaking diffrent types of legumes the night before, preparing herbs and picking wild herbs (infact, 40 different ones) for aash and collecting wood logs and hay for the bonfire. As the adults are busy preparing for the night, the young ones are planning whose houses they should visit for the best treats! At sunset, everyone gathers in the street to see piles of hay in a row waiting to be burnt. The young girls and boys stay put in a queue waiting to jump over the bonfire and some brave ones go through the flame and sing;

Zardi-ye man az to    Sorkhi-ye to az man 

The literal translation is, my sickly yellow paleness is yours, your fiery red colour is mine.

Once everyone had a chance to jump over the bonfire and had some fun, then everyone is off home to have some comfy aash to warm up. By this time outside gets dark and children get ready to go out in the dark to have some fun. Ghashogh-zany (قاشق زنی) involves the children covering themselves with chador (looking like a ghost) and holding a metal bowl in one hand and a spoon in the other hand.  The children would then visit homes in groups whilst continuously hitting the bowl with the spoon.  The sound of spoon hitting the bowl notifies the homeowner to open the door. The person who opens the door puts a treat in their bowls. The treat can be anything from fruits, Ajil (mixture of salted seeds and nuts), roasted chick peas, sweets or for a very unlucky ghashogh-zan a bucket full of water!

It is said that in old days families with young daughters would open their doors and give  treats out if they were happy for their daughter to get married that year  so, khastegary (matchmaking) would happen shortly after and the young couple's wedding would happen sometimes during spring or summer that year.

Now, here is a real treat which would satisfy your taste buds! 



2 egg whites 
1 cup sugar 
1/2  cup  corn syrup ( glucose)
2 tablespoon water


1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup  corn syrup ( or glucose syrup) 


1 1/2 cup   whole blanched almonds or pistachios, toasted.  
2 tablespoon butter or ghee melted 
2 teaspoon rosewater or vanilla extract


  • Heavily butter a pan, set aside   
  •  Heavily butter a large bowl, set aside

 To make the Meringue
  • In a stand mixer, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  • Boil sugar, corn syrup and water over medium heat.  Stir until sugar is dissolved and mixture starts to boil ( if sugar crystals still present, cover and boil until sugar is dissolved). uncover and  boil on low heat for 10 minutes, without stirring. The thermometer should read 230 F( It's good to use thermometer but not necessary for this size batch).
  • While mixing carefully and slowly add hot liquid in a steady stream over egg whites. Beat the mixture for another 10  minutes, until mixture holds its shape and is lukewarm. Transfer to prepared bowl.
to make the syrup; 
  • in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar and corn syrup. cook and stir until sugar is dissolved and mixture comes to a boil( if sugar crystals present, cover and boil until sugar is dissolved). Uncover and use clean spoon to stir on medium heat for 10 minutes longer. The thermometer should read 275 F ( It's good to use thermometer but not necessary for this size batch).
  • Pour the hot mixture over the Meringue ( Do Not Scrape Saucepan) and  with a large wooden spoon stir until blended. 
  • Mix melted butter and rosewater
  • Gradually add rosewater mixture and pistachio until blended. 
  • Transfer to prepared pan and stand for several hours before cutting in small pieces. Wrap in wax paper. Store in cool and dry place. 


    1. Wow, this looks good!

    2. Man ke english
      Motovaje nemisham, chy kar konam????

      1. Select Language دوست عزیز شما میتو آنید با کلیک کردن در قسمت راست صفحه روی
        My Persian Feast طرز تهیه رو به فارسی ترجمه کنید. از اونجای که گز متقاضی‌ زیادی داشت در پیج فیس بوک ما
        ترجمه شده هست برای استفاده دوستان.. موفق باشید

    3. Hi, love your blog and put you on my Liebster Award list which promotes fellow bloggers.
      You're in my latest blog post:

    4. This gaz recipe is dangerous - I love gaz. Now I know how to make it at home. YUM

      1. Hi Colette,

        As you might know Persians generally eat sweets and desserts on special occasions so its not that dangerous.

        Thanks for stopping by,


    5. why pistachio?
      will work out?
      also is maple syrup ok too as a substitute?

    6. Traditionally pistachio is used in Gaz and if you don’t like using pistachio roasted almond is a good substitute.

      I do know that some people don’t like glucose or corn syrup because it is flavourless. I am not sure if rose water and maple syrup are good combination but I would love to know.
      My suggestion to you is that if you do have some experience in confectionary making then use it otherwise I don’t recommend it.

      Note; this is not an easy recipe!

    7. Ok, I went searching for this recipe today. Now, we have a real problem b/c you make it look so easy!

    8. Admiring the hard work you put into your website and detailed information you provide.
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      1. Thank you so much! We share our personal stories through food and try to mainstream our recipe as much as possible. We appreciate you have taken time to write a comment here for us! Best of luck with your weblog.

    9. We lived in Isfahan during the 70s when the Shahenshah was in power. Gaz was one of our favorite treats and I miss it very much so was very happy to see this recipe.

      I am always thrilled when someone returns from Iran and brings me a box of I can make my own...enshallah.

      Please tell me if what we were told is correct about the way gaz was made long ago in Iran. We were told that the people gathered certain insect secretions off plants and those secretions were the secret to it.

      Is there any truth to that?