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Persian-style pumpkin stew recipe

Persian-style pumpkin stew recipe

  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Meat and poultry
  • Beef
  • Braised beef

Cubes of beef and pumpkin are cooked with onion, garlic and prunes. The stew is flavoured with turmeric, cinnamon and saffron.

1 person made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1/2 pumpkin - peeled, seeded and cut into about 8 large cubes
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 450g diced beef
  • 500ml water
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 pitted prunes
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 teaspoon saffron (optional)

MethodPrep:20min ›Cook:1hr30min ›Ready in:1hr50min

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in pan over medium high heat. Add pumpkin and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a stock pot over medium high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook over medium-high heat until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in tumeric. Add beef and cook until brown, about 5 minutes. Add water, salt and pepper; bring to the boil and then lower the heat. Simmer until beef is slightly tender, about 30 minutes.
  3. Stir pumpkin, prunes, vinegar, sugar, salt and cinnamon into stock pot and simmer until beef and pumpkin are tender, about 45 minutes. Garnish with saffron.

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Reviews in English (1)

by Tahere Moazez-Godoy

Made it with chicken, delicious! (Of course, the time of cooking changes accordingly) Also, I loved that this recipe has saffron. Oh and the second time I made this, we didn't have prunes, so replaced them with apple.-24 May 2018

18 Classic Persian Recipes You Need in Your Repertoire

Matt Taylor-Gross

There’s a reason Iranian cooking is renowned in the realm of Middle Eastern cuisine: not only can many dishes from that part of the world trace their roots to Persia, but the food is also just plain delicious. It works magic with so many different ingredients: pickled vegetables and dried fruits spices ranging from delicate, earthy saffron to tart, lemony sumac waters distilled from herbs and flowers like roses. And while bread is a staple of Persian cuisine, it’s rice that Iranians have elevated to an art form. A perfect tahdig, the elusive crispy crust at the bottom of the pot that’s the highlight of many Persian rice dishes, is a point of pride for home cooks in Iran. And it can be for you, too—check out our best traditional Persian recipes below for tahdig and much, much more.

This Persian Butter Bean Stew May Be the Best Thing You’ve Never Eaten

With coronavirus making travel a tricky and even potentially dangerous prospect this year, we’re embracing the summer staycation. All week (and all summer) long, we’ll bring you transportive flavors and travel-inspired ideas from around the world, so you can take your tastebuds on a trip and give your mind a mini vacation while you’re still at home. Here, a Persian butter bean stew everyone should taste.

Iranian food (or Persian food) is underrepresented in most U.S. cities, even famously multicultural New York—but Sofreh is an excellent example of the vibrant and delicious cuisine traditional to Iran. Our senior video producer, Guillermo Riveros, spent some time with Sofreh owner and chef Nasim Alikhani to learn more about Iranian cuisine, and how to make a vegetarian butter bean stew packed with dill (baghali ghatogh) that’s one of the best things he’s ever eaten.

Chef Alikhani grew up in northern Iran. Cooking was a constant of her childhood, and indeed, her life, but she only opened her first restaurant at the age of 59. A two-day New School seminar she took just before that suggested it was a terrible decision (from a risk-reward perspective), but she went with her gut and did it anyway—and we’re very glad she did. Sofreh is a must-visit for the chef’s delicious dishes, but she was also kind enough to share one of her recipes, which we highly suggest making at home.

Iranian Food Is More Than Meat

A Full Meal 9 Dishes to Make for Persian New Year As chef Alikhani attests, Iranian food, like the country itself, is complex and varied many people tend to think of Iran as a homogeneous region, all deserts and camels, but in fact it’s a place full of surprises, like lush tropical regions around the Caspian Sea that might make you feel like you’re in Hawaii—and dishes like baghali ghatogh, a simple butter bean stew packed with dill and layers of flavor, which might not be what you imagine when you think Persian food.

Yes, there are a lot of meaty kebabs in Iranian cuisine, but this dish is naturally vegetarian and just as satisfying. It’s easy to make it vegan too, if you simply omit the egg.

Baghali Ghatogh: The Best Thing to Do with Butter Beans

The first step in making baghali ghatogh is to soak your butter beans (also known as lima beans, but don’t let that deter you*!) overnight.

*There is some debate about lima beans vs butter beans. Several sources—The Kitchn, Food52, Food & Wine, Wikipedia, and California Beans, just to name a handful—say that butter beans and lima beans are indeed the same thing, but others debate the truth of that statement. What it really comes down to may be the age and stage of the lima beans that you’re dealing with. Per “In the culinary domain, where the distinction between varieties is potentially crucial, lima beans typically refer to the small, green variety. Alternatively, the large, white and slightly creamy bean often is considered a butter bean.”

You definitely need to buy dried beans for this dish, whether they’re labeled lima beans or butter beans—they should be fairly large, ivory-white, and flat in shape. Canned or frozen lima beans are not an acceptable substitute. If you can find dried beans labeled butter beans, buy those. And in either case, soak them overnight.

The next day, drain the beans and cover them with fresh water (this helps aid digestion), then let them sit for 30 minutes or so—which gives you plenty of time to chop the mountain of onions and garlic that go into the dish. Chef Alikhani admits that she uses more onion and garlic than is traditional (“excessive,” even)—almost more onions than beans—but they get cooked down slowly and gently so they taste fantastic and not at all overpowering and practically melt into the dish. The key is to keep stirring and never let them stick or burn, lest they become bitter you’re looking at about a half hour just to properly cook the aromatics, but it’s absolutely worth it. (Meanwhile, you can cook your beans as well so they’re ready for the finished dish.)

When the onions and garlic are fragrant and golden and starting to stick even despite your stirring, it’s time to add turmeric, a brightly colored, earthy spice crucial to Iranian cooking (and also touted as a super-healthy ingredient for the past few years). Lemon juice deglazes the pan and water is added to make a thick broth chef Alikhani doesn’t like a soupy texture, so advises you add water slowly—you can always add more, but once you have too much, it’s hard to correct. Similarly, keep tasting your broth and adjust with salt and pepper as needed.

The other key element of this dish is a massive amount of dill—if using fresh herbs, you could be dealing with literal pounds of it, but good-quality dried dill is preferable if the fresh stuff is lacking in flavor. Once you stir your cooked beans into the herby, savory, lemony broth, follow chef Alikhani’s lead and drizzle in a good-quality olive oil to finish the dish. Then, there’s just one final step: adding the eggs.

Traditionally, in northern Iran, raw eggs are gently whisked into the finished dish, but chef Alikhani doesn’t like the resulting texture, so she tops each portion with a runny poached egg instead—an elegant and delicious option. If you need a vegan meal, just leave out the eggs entirely either way, serve the dish with plenty of saffron-tinted basmati rice and prepare to swoon.

Baghali ghatogh may be one of the best things you’ll ever eat, and will definitely inspire you to seek out even more Iranian food—or make more of it at home.

Nasim Alikhani’s Baghali Ghatogh (Iranian Butter Bean Stew)

Takes: at least one hour for cooking the beans plus additional prep.


  • 2 cups dried butter beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried dill (Chef Alikhani recommends good quality Persian dill), or 8 ounces of fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt plus 2 tablespoons more for cooking the beans
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 egg per person, poached


  1. Make sure to soak your butter beans overnight.
  2. Drain the soaked butter beans, place in a pot and over with plenty of cold water (to cover), and cook on medium-low heat for about 30 minutes, then add the 2 tablespoons of salt. Cook for another 20-30 minutes or until soft but still firm.
  3. While beans are cooking, sauté the onion in the olive oil on medium heat until dark golden this will likely take at least 20 minutes, but judge by the color (more golden than golden-brown) and the smell, which should be full and fragrant, not acrid or raw. Add garlic and continue stirring because it tends to stick to the bottom. Cook until mellow. Add turmeric, lower the heat, and continue stirring until the turmeric is fragrant, only about 1 minute (don’t let it burn).
  4. Add lemon juice to the hot pan to deglaze all the onions and garlic let sit for a moment, then use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape all the browned bits off the bottom and mix them into the broth.
  5. Add the water and salt and pepper to taste, then cover pan with a close-fitting lid (if you are using fresh dill, you should add it at this point as well). Cook for about 10 minutes. If using dried dill, you should add the dill after 10 minutes.
  6. Add the cooked and drained butter beans to the onion-herb mixture. Adjust the seasoning and continue cooking on low heat for a few more minutes to warm through.
  7. Traditionally, eggs are cracked and incorporated into the stew before serving, but if you want to follow chef Alikhani’s lead, top each serving with a poached egg instead—and if you’re keeping the stew vegan, simply skip that step and serve!
  8. When plating, the chef suggests drizzling the stew with a little more fresh lemon juice and good quality extra virgin olive oil, with some freshly ground pepper to finish.

Shopping List

Dried Butter Beans

When buying dried butter beans, you’re more likely to see them labeled as lima beans, but banish any bad memories of frozen limas or suffering succotash you may have from childhood. Choose high-quality beans that haven’t been sitting on a dusty shelf forever, and remember to soak them overnight. (Rancho Gordo is a great source for beans, but their large white lima beans are currently out of stock.)

Camellia Large Lima Beans, $9.05/pound from Amazon

These happen to be a favorite in New Orleans too.

Fresh or Dried Dill

This dish really depends on good dill, so do not use the mostly full bottle that’s been in your pantry since 2016 buy a new one and a good brand (check out a local spice shop if you have one around)—and feel free to use fresh dill if it’s tasting good.

Simply Organic Dill Weed, $4.20 from Walmart

Otherwise, a dependable organic brand like this is a good choice.

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil to Finish

You’ll want a good-tasting olive oil for sauteing and cooking in general, but save the really expensive, complex stuff for finishing dishes (as well as eating with bread and vinegar, or using on salads). There are tons of options, and plenty of opinions on which of those are best, so if you’re overwhelmed, go to a local specialty market and ask for their recommendations. Below are just two highly rated options on Amazon.

Persian-Style Jewelled Butternut Squash Rice

Today I have a lovely jewelled butternut squash and rice recipe for you that can double as turkey or chicken stuffing. The idea for this awesome recipe came from a conversation with my friend last week. She asked for a Persian vegetarian rice recipe with pumpkins she could make for Thanksgiving. I thought I could make up a recipe for her she could serve as a main for her vegetarian guests that would also double as a delicious stuffing for her turkey for the carnivore. So here we are with this delicious butternut squash recipe!

But wherever I looked I couldn’t find a single pumpkin. Halloween is only a few weeks from now.Where is all the pumpkin? Can’t there be at least a few early ones in the shops? Maybe I just wasn’t lucky. I found a nice butternut squash though and it worked beautifully in my dish.

I took the inspiration for my dish from one so popular in Iran’s Caspian Sea region. The beautiful Caspian Sea area has so many culinary delights including a rice dish with squash called kehi pelaw or kadoo polo. This dish usually comes with tiny beef or lamb meatballs, or each serving is topped with a fried egg. Some people make it with raisins too. I like to make mine with spices and serve it with saffron-braised chicken. But this time I wanted it to be vegetarian and to look very festive, too.

My first thought was to use a basmati-wild rice mixture. I love the nutty flavour of wild rice. But I wanted more crunch to contrast with the soft texture of the squash so I mixed in some slivered pistachios and almonds too and threw in a few gorgeous barberries for a little splash of red and tangy flavour as well. The berries really complemented the flavour of the squash and the final result looked really pretty and colourful.

Barberries are gorgeous tiny jewel-like tangy red berries. They go into lots of Persian dishes. I usually order online or buy from Persian or Middle Eastern groceries but if I can’t find any I use chopped cranberries. Will work in most dishes.

So I cubed the squash and fried it in a little oil in a non-stick coated frying pan until it was lightly caramelised while I was boiling the rice. Pistachio and almond slivers went into the same frying pan at the end with the barberries.

Pistachio and almond slivers may be a bit hard to find too unless you order online or have a good Persian or Middle Eastern grocery around you. But don’t give up making this delicious dish if that’s not the case! Your rice will be just as delicious and beautiful if you use almond flakes and chopped pistachios or even substitute lightly toasted pine nuts for both.

This dish can come with a bonus too. If you keep the rice on low heat for longer than twenty minutes you’ll get a very tasty crust in the bottom. It takes some practice to get the heat and time right to have a beautifully golden crust (tahdig in Persian). When done, the rice can be turned onto a plate like a cake to show off its golden crust.

PS: Jewelled squash rice will make a very lovely stuffing for turkey and chicken. You just need to skip the steaming stage. Toss the squash mixture with the rice and fill the cavity of the bird. The rice needs to be a little undercooked (firm bite in the centre after boiling) so it doesn’t get mushy when the bird is cooking. The following will stuff a large chicken. For Turkey double or triple the amounts as required.

To serve four people as a main you will need the following ingredients:

The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

This is my first post for several weeks because I have been ill with Covid-19. Despite having taken plenty of precautions, I succumbed to Covid just prior to Christmas, becoming sufficiently unwell by the new year to require a few days of hospital treatment. I am now in the process of recovery but I will be posting less frequently until I am fully back to normal.

During my period of illness I had wonderful support and encouragement from friends and family, as well as from Suma Wholefoods, with whom I am proud to enjoy an ongoing partnership.

This post, my only new recipe for January, represents the latest in my monthly series of recipes created in partnership with Suma. In each recipe, I use products from Suma’s extensive range of organic and ethically sourced products, and the recipes appear both here on my blog and on the Suma website.

Looking ahead, as the UK endures a third lockdown, of indeterminate length, I will aim to base my new recipes more around ingredients you may find in your fridge or store cupboard.

Having said that, my own store cupboard is probably untypical. I am ineluctably attracted to new and untried ingredients, and will often buy them and keep them in my cupboard until I can think what to cook with them.

This recipe is an example, making use of some dried limes I came across quite some time ago. You can find them in Asian food stores. If you cannot source them, it’s extremely difficult to replicate their distinct (and wonderful) flavour, but I would suggest stirring a little tamarind paste and/or fresh lime juice into the stew at the last minute. It won’t be quite the same but you will still end up with a richly, hearty and wonderful dish.

The recipe is loosely based on a popular Iranian and Iraqi dish called ghormeh sabzi, which roughly translates as “fried herbs”. I have taken a few liberties in producing this vegan version, but the end result is far more complex and delicious than the recipe’s simple title implies. A wonderful bowl of goodness that you can feel doing you good as it goes down.

Persian-style bean and herb stew


1 onion, chopped
600 g potato, peeled and chopped into 2-3 cm chunks
125 g savoy cabbage, thinly shredded
1 leek, sliced
8 spring onions, white and green parts, sliced
30 g fresh parsley, chopped
30 g fresh coriander, chopped
20 g fresh chives, chopped
2 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves
400 g can organic red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
4 dried limes, pierced with a skewer or sharp knife
3 tbsp tomato puree
750 ml vegetable stock
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1. Pour the olive oil into a large casserole dish or pan. Place over a medium heat and, once the oil is hot, add the onion. Sauté until soft and translucent. Reduce the heat very slightly and add the leek, spring onion, parsley, coriander, chives and dried fenugreek leaves.

2. Stir-fry for 20 minutes, enjoying the wonderful aromas, after which time the herbs will have wilted and shrunk in volume.

3. Add the cabbage and potato and cook for two minutes, stirring well. Add the stock, along with the pierced dried limes, sea salt, turmeric and tomato puree and kidney beans. Stir to combine. Bring to a simmer then cover the pan with a lid and reduce the temperature to maintain a gentle simmer and cook for a further 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

Persian Chicken Noodle Soup

The weather in LA for the past few days has been gloomy and a bit on the cooler side. We are officially into the fall season which means soups are back on the menu for us. Growing up chicken soup meant a type of soup that usually had chicken in it as well as some vegetables, pretty much like the recipe for Chicken Soup that I posted Read More

Hearty Persian Barley Soup" />

To begin the preparation of Persian Eggplant Stew Recipe, first peel and cube the eggplant and place in a colander.

Sprinkle 1/2 tablespoon salt over it and keep it aside for 30 minutes. This will remove any sort of bitterness in the eggplants.

After sprinkling salt, it will release water. Pat it dry with paper towel.

Heat a kadai and add oil. After the oil gets heated, add onions and fry till onions turn pinkish.

Add garlic and saute till aroma of garlic gets released.

Now add the chopped eggplant and cook till eggplant softens and releases water.

Cover the pan and cook for 10 minutes.

Now add the spice powders namely turmeric powder, cumin, red chili powder, cinnamon powder and pepper powder and mix well.

Add 1/2 cup water and stir.

Now cover the kadai and simmer for 20 minutes or till the eggplant gets cooked.

Check the taste, adjust salt and mix. Serve the Persian Eggplant Stew with hot basmati rice for a weekday lunch.


It is always nice to have a few simple side dish recipes lined up for the big holiday events. There is plenty to do with so much planning that even a little peace of mind goes a long way. With Thanksgiving right around the corner I am thinking of this Roasted Butternut Squash. It is simple and healthy, and it tastes great with any vegetarian or meat entree for the holiday season.

Butternut squash is bright orange and sweet when ripe and the added brown sugar in this recipe caramelizes and bakes into this beautiful squash making it delicious and mildly sweet.

To prepare the butternut squash, I remove both ends and cut the squash in two lengthwise, right where the neck meets the round belly. This way I have a sturdy base to cut the squash. I use a spoon to take all the seeds out. The seeds make a great snack when roasted, but it takes a little work to clean all the goop, so it is up to you to wash and roast them later or toss them.

Then I peel and slice all the pieces. Next, I dice the butternut squash to bite size pieces. I add the squash pieces to a bowl and drizzle the melted butter on it, then sprinkle the brown sugar, salt and pepper and toss to coat.

I bake the butternut squash on the center rack of a preheated 400 F oven in a foil-lined baking sheet. I stir the cubes several times during this baking time so they roast and caramelize into a rich golden brown.

I hope you enjoy this beautiful Roasted Butternut Squash side dish for your holidays. It is the best tasting squash recipe I have made and it is so simple.

Khorak’e Taskabab • تاس کباب • Beef Stew Persian Style

Taskabab, a khorak, not khoresh, is a beef stew with Persian seasoning. Part of the dish’s name, kabab, has nothing to do with grilled kabab. The simple and traditional way of cooking taskabab is by stacking the cut meat and vegetables in a deep pot (or a slow cooker), adding the seasoning and letting it cook slowly until meat is tender and all flavors melded. However, to add a little decadence, a fusion and flavors a notch higher, it may be a little cumbersome, but this recipe is a worthwhile effort to enhance the flavors of the same ingredients!

Taskabab • تاس کباب • Beef Stew Persian Style

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 3½ Hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Recipe by: Fae’s Twist & Tango (

For the meat
• 1 small onion, cut in 3cm cubes
• 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
• 900 g beef stew meat (chuck cross rib roast) cut in 5cm cubes
• 3 cloves garlic
• 1 large bay-leaf
• 2 cups water

For the Vegetables
• 2 medium sweet onions (350g), peeled, cut in 1.5cm thick rings
• 2 large red potatoes or use low-starch [1] potatoes (350g), peeled, cut in wedges and bevel angled
• 4 Japanese eggplants (350g), peeled, sliced in 2.5cm and sprinkled with salt
• 2 large Fuji apples (550g), peeled, cut in wedges and cut in bite size
• 2 large carrots (350g), peeled, cut circular 1cm thick
• 350 g green beans, cut in 5cm
• 4

6 Roma tomatoes (350g), best if blanched/skinned, cut in half and de-seeded
• 12 pieces dried, pitted prunes
• 20 pieces dried, pitted apricots
• vegetable oil

For the seasoning
• ½ cup verjuice
• 1 Tbsp tomato paste
• 1 tsp red hot pepper paste
• smidgen ground saffron, dissolved in 2 Tbsp hot water
• 1 cup thick chicken broth
• 2

3 Tbsp caramelized onion
• salt & ground black pepper to taste

◊ To cook the meat: Add oil to a medium-sized pot and place it on high-heat. As soon as oil is hot, add cut onions and sauté for 2 minutes. Add meat and sear all sides. Add water, bay-leaf, garlic and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer for 1.5

2 hours, or until meat is just cooked. There should be ½ cup of liquid left when it is cooked (add hot water as needed not to scorch).

◊ In a deep, non-stick fry-pan (to avoid splatter), on medium-high heat, add 1 Tbsp oil, pad dry the eggplants and brown on both sides. Put them on a plate. Discard the oil and rinse the pot.

◊ In the same fry-pan, add 1 Tbsp oil and heat on medium heat. Brown only one side of the onion and place in one layer in an ovenproof big, deep dish. Without rinsing the pan, add oil if needed, sear the potatoes until little browned, and place them around the onion rings (see the ingredients photo). Without rinsing the pan, add oil if needed, sear the apple pieces until little browned, and also put them on the plate.

◊ Bring water to a boil in medium-sized saucepan. Add ½ tsp salt, add carrot and green bean pieces and boil for 90 seconds. Drain and shock with cold water (this is to bring out the vivid colors of the vegetables).

◊ Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 175°C/350°F.

◊ Over the onions, layer prepared ingredients in this order: cooked meat and broth, apples, apricots, prunes, carrots, green beans, eggplants and tomatoes.

◊ In a medium bowl, add all ingredients for the seasoning including 1/8 tsp salt, mix well and pour over the vegetables. Cover the ovenproof dish tightly with foil and bake for 2 hours.

◊ Serve family style in the ovenproof dish, or in individual bowls with at all pieces of the ingredients.

– – – – –
[1] Potato starch content varies, which affects the texture in cooking:
High-starch potatoes, such as russets, have a light, mealy texture. Once boiled, they are ideal for mashing.
Medium-starch potatoes, such as Finnish yellow and Yukon gold, contain more moisture so they don’t fall apart quite as easily as high-starch potatoes.
Low-starch potatoes, such as round red, round white, and new potatoes, are often called waxy potatoes. They hold their shape better than other potatoes when boiled, making them perfect for potato salads or tossing with seasoned butter as a side dish.

Khoresh’e Gheimeh • خورش قیمه • Persian Style Yellow Split Pea Stew

Gheimeh literally translated ‘finely chopped’ is a Persian stew/khoresh consisting of meat, yellow split peas, tomatoes/tomato paste, caramelized onion and dried lime/limu omani. This stew is garnished with aubergine and/or French fries, and almost always served with Persian rice/polo.

Gheimeh is one of the easiest of khoreshs/stews to make, and therefore, served often for family dinners and also a common red[1] stew at special dinner gatherings.

Khoresh'e Gheimeh • خورش قیمه • Persian Style Yellow Split Pea Stew

Recipe by: Fae’s Twist & Tango (

For the meat
• vegetable oil
• 120 g/ 1 small onion, diced large
• 570 g/ 1¼ lb beef stew meat cut in 2.5 cm/1″ cubes
. . – lamb, veal or poultry may be used
• 1 bay-leaf
• 2 cups hot water

3 whole dried limes[2] (limu omani لیمو امانی خشک) -or- ¼ cup verjuice or lemon/lime juice
• 150 g/ ¾ cup yellow split-peas, slow cook type[2] to hold it’s shape
• 230 g/ 1 medium onion, diced
• 1

1½ Tbsp tomato paste
• ¾ tsp hot pepper paste
• ½

1 tsp ground turmeric
• 2 cups hot water
• 1 tsp chicken base (I use this brand, low sodium)
• 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
• 1 tsp salt, divided
• 1/16 tsp ground black pepper
• 1/32

1/16 tsp ground saffron, dissolved in 1 Tbsp hot water

For the French fries
• 1 lb potato (I used russet), new/fresh, cut in 12mm/½” cubes, soaked in water for 30 minutes, drained and set to drain further.
• vegetable oil
• salt

◊ Poke the dried limes/limu omani with tines of fork in three places and soak in hot water for at least 2 hours. It is preferred that its water be refreshed a couple of times. Drain before use.

To cook the meat: In a medium sauce pan, add oil and on high heat, as soon as oil is hot, add cut onions and stirring constantly, sauté for 2 minutes. Add meat and sear all around. Add water, bay-leaf, and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium-low, scoop any floating foam, and let simmer for 1½ hours, until meat is done, but not over-cooked. There should be ½ cup or more of liquid left.

While meat is cooking: In a medium-sized sauce pan, add rinsed yellow split-peas and 2 cup water, bring to a boil on high-heat. As soon as it starts to foam (as it will overflow) drain, refresh its water, add ½ tsp salt and bring to a boil again. Lower heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

◊ In a non stick, medium sized pot, add 2 Tbsp oil and heat over medium-high. Add cut onion. Frequently stirring, fry until caramelized. Add tomato paste, hot pepper paste, turmeric, and fry for additional one minute. Add hot water, chicken base, cinnamon, ½ tsp salt (adjust to sodium level in the chicken base), pepper, dissolved saffron, and stir. Add the cooked meat, with liquid, par boiled yellow split peas. Bring to a boil and lower heat to medium-low. Simmer for 30 minutes or until split peas are tender (do not over cook as they start falling apart and over thicken the sauce).

While stew is simmering: In a medium sized fry-pan, add 12mm/½” deep of oil and heat on medium-high until oil ripples. Carefully add well drained potato cubes and fry until golden. Scoop out onto a plate lined with paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and set aside and keep warm.

◊ Dish out the stew in a deep dish and garnish with the cubed French fries. It is very common to serve gheimeh with fried eggplants (which are simmered in the stew). Gheimeh is always served with Persian rice/polo. Yogurt or torshi goes very well as accompaniment.

It is very common to serve gheimeh with eggplants… it is called gheimeh bademjan

Most common way of serving is crispy, freshly French fried potatoes on the side.

Persian khoresh is always served with Persian style saffron rice, polo!

A few important points in making an outstanding Persian khoresh:

♦ Don’t skimp on oil… use as much as needed for frying/sautéing. Boiling oil also cooks and adds flavor. It can be skimmed off before serving.
♦ Brown/sear onion and meat very well.
♦ Adding 1/16

1/8 tsp of ground saffron, dissolved in 1 Tbsp hot water, will substantially add to taste.
♦ Don’t use too much water for cooking, just enough to steam and condense. –Simmer on low heat for a long time. This helps flavor fusion of ingredients.
♦ Best if stew is made a day in advance and refrigerated for taste to meld.
♦ Almost all stews can be frozen. Exception: If stew includes potato(es), potato pieces to be removed before freezing.
♦ There are red [1] stews (using tomato paste) and green [1] stews (using herbs). Garnishing red stews sparingly with caramelized onion before serving not only further enhances taste but visually enhances the dish.

[1] Slang: ‘red’ and ‘green’ are used to specify types of stews or mixed rices, using tomato paste vs. herbs respectively. This concept also helps host/hostess plan an event menu and serve a balance of reds and greens.