It’s one of the most popular foods in Iranian gastronomy. A reason for the popularity of Khoresht Gheimeh is that, in most religious occasions and ceremonies in Iran, it’s one of the most common dishes cooked and distributed as a votive food. “Khoresht” is the Persian equivalent for “stew”.
In some areas of Iran, there are slight differences in the recipe of this Persian food. But they all have the basic ingredients (yellow split peas, dried lime, and French fries) in common. However, the following is the main and most common recipe for Khoresht Gheimeh.
Ingredients of Khoresht Gheimeh:
- 500 g stew meat (lamb or veal)
- 1 big onion, finely chopped
- 1 ½ cup yellow split peas, pre-soaked for a about 1-2 hours
- 4 medium sized potato, cut into long thin strips
- 4 dried limes
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- Cooking oil
- 1 tsp. turmeric powder
- Salt and hot pepper powder
- ¼ tsp. crushed saffron threads (optional)
- ½ tsp. cinnamon powder (optional)
Directions to Cook Khoresht Gheimeh:
1. Put the crushed saffron in a cup and add one small ice cube. Set it aside and let the ice cube melt slowly.
2. Drain the pre-soaked peas and put them in a pot. Add about 3 cups of water and put the pot over high heat. When the water starts boiling, reduce the heat to medium and let the peas simmer with the lid on to get nearly undercooked. Then, remove the pot from heat, drain the peas, and set them aside.
- Cover the pot with the lid loosely to keep it from boiling over.
3. In a stewpot, fry finely chopped onions with 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat until slightly golden.
4. Add turmeric powder and fry for a few more minutes.
5. Add the meat and increase heat a little bit. Stir until the meat cubes get brown.
- You can substitute lamb or veal with turkey. But it’ll take more time to get ready and cooked.
6. Add the prepared peas and saffron to the meat. Mix them and continue heating.
7. After about 3-4 minutes, add 3 cups of boiling water to the mixture and stir a bit. Increase heat to bring the mixture to a boil. Then reduce heat to medium and let your stew simmer gently with the lid on for about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- In case you need to add some more water before the end of the cooking time, use boiling water.
- While the stew is simmering, you have enough time to make the French fries needed for garnishing.
8. Take a frying pan. Put the sliced potatoes into it. Add about 2 tablespoons of oil. Fry them over medium heat until they are golden and crispy. Then, add a little bit salt, stir for a few seconds, and set the pan aside.
- Instead of homemade French fries, you can use packaged French fries.
9. At the last 30 minutes of simmering, add salt, hot pepper powder, tomato paste, and dried limes. (salt and pepper to your taste)
- If you heat the tomato paste with one tablespoon of oil for a few minutes in a frying pan before adding, it’ll give the stew a better color.
- Before adding dried limes, pierce them with a fork. This way, the sour flavor of the lime penetrates your stew while simmering.
- You have to add salt and dried limes when the meat and peas are tender. Otherwise, they don’t get cooked properly, and will take much more time to get ready. Also, if the stew simmer for a long time with dried limes in it, its taste will turn bitter.
- You can substitute dried limes with lemon juice, or use both together if you like your Khoresht Gheimeh to taste sourer.
10. Add the cinnamon powder at the last 15 minutes if you like its flavor.
- It’ll give a dark color to your food if you add it sooner.
11. After the intended time, get the lid off and check the Persian food you’ve cooked. If you can see a thin layer of oil floating on the top and it’s got the desired consistency (which resembles that of a spaghetti sauce), it’s ready to serve.
How to Serve Khoresht Gheimeh:
This stew is served with rice like other Iranian stews. You can serve it in a big bowl for all or in small ones for each person. Use the French fries to garnish the bowls.
To eat this savory Persian food, take a spoonful of the stew, put it on your rice, and take a mouthful of both using a spoon. A fork can be used to help taking the mixture of stew and rice in the spoon.
Common side dishes to have with your meal can be table vegetables, green salad, yogurt, or various kinds of pickles. And the most favorite drink served with this food is Doogh (Iranian yogurt drink seasoned by dried mint powder or some other local herbs).
You’ll be pleased with the taste of this Persian food, especially the one you yourselves have made it.