Bij Bij is not only a fun name for a dish, it is also a staple for Caspian Sea folks. People from Iran’s Mazandaran Province call this dish “Vavishka” (clearly a name that originated in Russia), but in Tehran, those who know of it call it Bij Bij. It is a comfort dish, made with ground meat, caramelized onions, and spices, all cooked in a rich tomato sauce, and with eggs poached right in the middle. An all-around simple and flavorful dish that can be prepared in about an hour, with very little effort.
This is one of my all-time favorite comfort foods. Even when I was a vegetarian, I would find a way to mimic the experience of eating Bij Bij. Be it crumbled up Tempeh (fermented soy patties) or Seitan (wheat protein) or purchased meat substitute products, I would find a way to make Bij Bij and serve it over a heaping mound of steamed basmati rice.
I continue to adapt this dish to suit my palate while integrating various vegetables. I have added mushrooms, carrots, cauliflower, and/or potatoes, and have played around with a medley of precious spices and herbs that my mom has brought from Iran.
Khoresh Bij Bij
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 4 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon turmeric, ground
- 1 lb ground meat
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 medium yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces, peeling is optional
- 4 medium tomatoes, diced
- 1 1/2 cups water, adjust as needed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, adjust as needed
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, ground
- 2 tablespoons Ab Ghooreh (unripe sour grape juice), or fresh lemon juice
- 4-6 eggs
- In a large frying pan, saute the onions in oil over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add garlic and turmeric and continue to saute for 2 additional minutes.
- Add the ground meat, breaking the chunks into smaller pieces and blending them into the sauted onions. Saute the meat and onion mixture for 5 minutes on medium-high heat. The meat should have turned light brown and no longer look raw.
- Add the tomato paste and continue to stir and saute for another 2 minutes to bring out the flavor of the tomato paste.
- Add the potatoes, tomatoes, water, salt, pepper and Ab Ghooreh or lemon juice and bring to a gentle boil. Once boiling, reduce heat, cover and cook for 40 minutes. Test to make sure the potatoes are sufficiently cooked and tender.
- Using a spoon, pull the meat back to make room for the eggs to get cracked into the pan. Crack the eggs into the meat sauce one at a time.
- Sprinkle a touch more salt and pepper on top of the eggs, cover, and cook on medium-low heat for about 5-6 minutes depending on how runny or cooked you prefer your eggs.
- Once the eggs are cooked to your liking, turn off the heat and allow the stew to sit for 5 minutes before serving.
- Bij Bij can be served with Persian flatbreads or with steamed basmati rice and a side of yogurt and fresh herbs.
4 Comments Add yours
If using canned tomatoes, how many of what sized cans?
Hi Leeann – I would suggest using just one 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes to replace the 4 medium fresh tomatoes. Enjoy!
Looks so delicious! I will make this for sure. We lived in Seattle for a few years (still my favorite city in the US) before moving to the CA Bay Area, and took many Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking classes at Hipcooks, The Pantry, and at PCC. But somehow we missed knowing about your classes even though we absolutely love Persian food; what a bummer!
Oh, I am thrilled to hear you will give this stew a try!
I did take about 4 years off from teaching, so I am thinking that may have been the time when you were taking cooking classes here in Seattle! Hopefully you will find my blog inspirational and cook a few of my Persian dishes 🙏😋