Aash-e Jow – Barley, herbs and spinach stew with whey and mint sauce

Aash has always been front and center in Persian cuisine. This is a Persian term used to describe a thick style of soup that often combines a variety of beans, grains, sometimes noodles, herbs, spices, and meat.

Aash-e Jow is a hearty Persian barley stew prepared by slowly cooking beans and grains with an abundance of fresh herbs and spinach. The stew is topped with salty and tangy Kashk (liquid whey), tender crispy fried onions, and a garlic mint sauce.

Aash can be served either as the main course or as a side dish. When I’m in a hurry and eager to have this stew, I sometimes use good-quality canned beans to get to it faster!


In January of 2021, a recent article was published at The Kitchn as a form of a love letter to my Aash.

The Life-Changing Persian Soup I’ve Been Making for 15 Years (and Counting), by Amelia Rampe.


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Aash-e jow

Omid Roustaei, The Caspian Chef
Barley, herbs and spinach stew with tangy whey and mint sauce
4.92 from 34 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Persian
Servings 6


  • 1 large onion diced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric, ground
  • 6 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth, more as needed
  • 1/2 cup dried garbanzo beans, soaked overnight and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup dried red kidney beans, soaked overnight and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, ground
  • 2 teaspoons cumin, ground
  • 1 cup pearled barley
  • 1/2 cup white basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup lentils
  • 2 cups chopped parsley, leaves and softer section of the stem
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro, leaves and softer section of the stem
  • 1 cup chopped fresh dill, leaves and softer section of the stem
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 to 1 cup liquid whey, adjust to your taste


  • 6 tablespoons olive oil or ghee
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons dried mint, or 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, ground


  • In a large pot, sauté the onions with olive oil for about 10 minutes over medium heat. Add garlic and turmeric and saute for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Add chicken broth and the soaked garbanzo and red kidney beans and bring to a gentle boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 45 minutes.
  • Add salt, pepper, cumin, barley, rice and lentils. Cover and cook on low heat for 30 minutes.
  • Add the herbs, spinach and liquid whey, cover and continue to cook for another 20-30 minutes. Check to make sure all the beans are cooked and tender. Stir occasionally and adjust for seasoning.
  • In the meantime, prepare the garnish by heating the oil in a skillet over medium heat and sauté the onion for about 15 minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients. Saute for 2 more minutes on low heat and set aside.
  • Pour the soup into a serving bowl and garnish with the onion, garlic mint sauce. Serve hot.


Eliminate the liquid whey and replace the chicken broth with vegetable stock to create a vegan/vegetarian option.
Keyword barley, herbs, kashk, Legumes, spinach
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Amanda says:

    I made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious! I added chicken, cooked the aash in my instant pot, and forgot the kashk, lol! Still, the whole family enjoyed it and I’ll definitely try this recipe again. Thank you!


    P.S. My grandmother used to make an aash with beets in it. Do you have any idea what that was? I’d love to find a recipe.

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