I seem to be on a roll of doing back-to-back northern Iranian dishes! All over Iran, many stews feature fresh herbs in the place of other vegetables to accompany either animal or plant-based proteins. While each stew has its own unique combinations and ratios, they all have one thing in common: Iranians’ celebration and love of herbs.
What makes this dish characteristically northern is the addition of a sour element. For this stew, the most traditional ingredient is Seville oranges (Ab Narenj in Farsi). Alternatively, you may use unripe sour grape juice (Ab Ghooreh in Farsi) or lime juice to create that signature tart flavor.
Oh, and a word of caution, this dish is garlicky! I mean seriously garlicky: it wouldn’t be unusual to use a whole head of garlic. In addition to sour flavors, Caspian Sea dishes feature large amounts of garlic like nowhere else in Iran!
Torsh Tareh is typically prepared with poached or fried eggs and is often served with a side of smoked fish and plain white rice.
- 2 tablespoons basmati rice, rinsed
- 3 cups water
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon turmeric, ground
- 10 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
- 2 bunches cilantro, tougher end of the stems removed and then finely chopped
- 2 bunches parsley, tougher end of the stems removed and then finely chopped
- 1 bunch mint, about 1 cup packed, finely chopped
- 1 cup spinach, finely chopped
- 8 green onions, or 1/2 cup green Nira, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, adjust to your taste
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper, ground
- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice, or Ab Ghooreh – sour grape juice. Adjust to your taste
- 4 large eggs
- Place the rice and water in a medium sized saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Set aside.
- While the rice is simmering, select a large frying pan and saute the onions with olive oil over medium heat for about 10 minutes.
- Add turmeric and garlic and continue to saute for another couple of minutes to lightly brown the garlic and bring out its flavor.
- Add all the chopped herbs and continue to saute for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Once the herbs have dried out a bit and become more aromatic, add the parboiled rice with all the liquid, salt, pepper and lemon juice to the frying pan.
- Cover and cook over low heat for 30 minutes.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
- Check the liquid level in the pan to make sure there is enough broth left behind to poach the eggs in. Adjust as necessary by adding water if the stew is too dry, or increasing the flame slightly and removing the lid if the stew is too wet.
- Using a wooden spatula, pull the herb mixture back so that you have the necessary space to crack the eggs in.
- Once all the eggs have been cracked into the herb sauce, using the same spatula break through the egg yolk to create a marbled egg look.
- Feel free to sprinkle a touch more salt on the eggs. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the eggs are cooked to your liking.
- Turn the heat off and transfer to a serving platter.
- Torsh Tareh is served with plain steamed basmati rice and often paired with smoked white fleshed fish.