Sunday, April 28, 2013

Ghormeh Sabzi (Persian herb stew)

Today I felt "Adventuress" and decided to finally make this Persian/Iranian herb stew recipe that has been sitting on my browser for over a week! Thanks to the lovely Persian food blog Turmeric and Saffron I didn't feel too intimidated to give it a try, I'm a huge fan of the blog and even though you won't see a lot of Persian recipes here I do browse her blog A LOT to familiarize myself with recipes.

As you all probably know that I love to cook Kurdish/Iraqi food (my culture from my father's side of the family) but I always find Iranian food to be a whole different world, and a fascinating one. We share some similarities and  a;though the two countries are side by side the cuisine is still quite different.

I tried my best to make this stew, following both the blog recipe from Turmeric and Saffron as well as watching this very educational youtube video by Persian Chef KShar.

Along with the stew I made a plain rice. The rice was soaked for a few hours before hand then boiled in lots of salted water (and a drop of oil), strained (kind of like when I make biryani or an Afghan rice) but then steamed in a new (smaller) pot for an hour. (I put potatoes at the bottom so it doesn't burn)
Very different than the normal Arabic method where it all cooks in one pot with water and some oil/salt on low heat for 20 mins maximum time.

To make the stew you need fresh or dry herbs on hand, there seem to be a lot of recipes out there but instead of getting overwhelmed I'd suggest going with the recipe here to begin with because it is really quite easy to follow.  I've added a handful of spinach to it as well but pretty much followed it exactly.

It was awesome being able to use up those dry limes that have been kicking around here for the last year or more, if you remember I bought keylimes a while back and didn't know what to do with the rest so I dried them and now they've found their purpose :D

Some ingredients to source and buy (from a Persian/Arabic and Indian store) before attempting the recipe:

- Dry limes (limu omani) - Persian or Arabic store
- Fenugreek (fresh or dry) Persian or Indian/Pakistani store (sometimes called "methi" dry leaves or fresh leaves, NOT seeds!) 

Regular supermarket items: 

- Stewing beef
- Dry kidney beans
- Turmeric

Once you've got all your ingredients it's pretty easy, just a few steps and once you've got it going you can step away and let it do it's thing for a couple of hours!  Maybe try a crockpot?

Just make sure to soak the beans the night before!

..Thanks to my sister Dessert was taken care of.


Noor said...

Ya Salam this looks amazing.

Azita Mehran said...

Bella,I'm so glad you gave this recipe a try! I can almost taste the stew by just looking at these gorgeous photos! Love your blog! Thank you!


Asiya said...

I think I want to try this. Can I ask what brand rice you buy? The soaking method never seems to work for me because they break in the water after a while, so I've given up doing that method, but your grains look nice and plump, so maybe I'm not buying the right brand?

Amatullah said...

Asiya, I use Sila golden basmati. It's parboiled and easy to find in an Afghan store.

You can soak it for 5 hours on the counter in a bowl of water and it won't break. Then you blanch/boil it like pasta with lots of salt and a drizzle of oil in a big pot of boiling water.
Drain and at that point do whatever you want with it, be it biryani (layered in a lasagna pan in the oven) or here I'm trying the stove top method so I didn't wash it with cold water much but just a little and then put it gently back into the pot over some pieces of potato in the bottom so that it doesn't burn. Adding a bit of liquid and bringing it up to boil/steam (covering the lid with a cloth/towel as you see in the pics) and closing/steaming on low for about an hour.

The rice should have enough salt from boiling but sprinkle a bit more in between the layers to your liking and add any spice/saffron drizzle...etc.

Good luck! Let me know how it turns out.