Hearty beans and rice stew with beef and herbs

Aash-e Sholeh Ghalamkar

آش شله قلمکار

What looks like a soup or a stew, but is neither? It is Aash!

Aash is a slow-cooked Persian dish that combines a variety of beans, grains, sometimes noodles, herbs, spices and meat. Its texture most resembles a thick soup.

Aash is quite versatile and has many variations. It can be a comfort food, but it can also be served “majlesie style” – meaning the kind of meal you’d serve at a fancy dinner party. It can be the main course, or be served in small quantities as part of a family-style spread. Aash has its roots in traditional Iranian holidays such as Nowruz, the Persian New Year.

This version of Aash is quite hearty, and a favorite amongst Iranians. As with most such dishes, it is garnished with caramelized onions and topped with a flavor-packed mint and garlic sauce. Aash is often served with a piece of Persian flatbread, which makes it both satisfying and complete.

While the recipe that follows uses an immersion blender, it is traditional in Iran to use a “Gusht Koob”, which is a wooden implement something like a cross between a potato masher and a meat tenderizer.

To make matters even more interesting, it is also quite common to have a hot bowl of Aash for breakfast!

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Quince jam with rosewater and spices

Moraba-ye Beh

مربای به

Let there be jam! Homemade jams are such an integral part of Persian culture and cuisine. Quince is one of those rare and sometimes underappreciated tart and crisp fruits that are best enjoyed either cooked in a stew or made into a jam. The fruit itself is very aromatic and I can always detect a note of rose scent in it. When making this jam, I make that note much more pronounced, and make a symphony of aromatics by adding rose water and various spices – not necessarily traditional, but magical!

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