This is Aash Reshteh, one of the most popular and well-loved members of the Aash family, which has nearly 50 varieties. Aash is a Persian term used to describe a very thick style of soup.
Important ingredients for this dish are heaping amounts of herbs and various beans, but the signature ingredients are Kashk and Reshteh. Kashk is liquid whey derived from yogurt, and Reshteh is a noodle which has an appearance that’s reminiscent of linguine but a very different flavor profile.
Abgoosht is the original Persian rustic “one pot meal” that dates back to centuries ago when simple ingredients were gathered and thrown in a pot to accompany tougher cuts of meat that needed to cook for a long time.
Nowadays, with easy access to a wide range of ingredients, this once modest dish has become quite elevated! More vegetables have found their way into this one pot meal, alongside traditional Persian spices. Consequently, each family has developed their own version of Abgoosht.
This is Ghormeh Sabzi, by many accounts Iran’s national dish!
Yes, there are Fesenjoon, Khoresht-e Bademjan and Zereshk Polo, and a myriad of other stews and rice dishes, not to mention a long list of Kebabs. But there is something so very special about Ghormeh Sabzi.
To learn about this dish is to learn some of the very specific nuances of Persian culture, tradition and cuisine.
This dish is an internal contradiction, much like Iran herself. The ancient Persian Empire vs. modern-day Iran; pre-revolution vs. post-revolution; traditional dishes vs. fast food.
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.
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 the 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!