Go Back

Shami-e Lapeh

Spiced yellow split pea and beef patties
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Persian
Keyword: meat patty, shami, yellow split pea
Servings: 6
Author: Omid Roustaei, The Caspian Chef


  • Food processor


  • 1 pound beef or lamb, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 6 cups water, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow split pea
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1-2 tablespoon rice flour or all purpose, as needed to bind the patties
  • 1 cup oil, safflower or sunflower for frying

Serve with

  • 1 bunch leafy greens, such as lettuce, arugula or spinach
  • 1 bunch fresh mint, basil, tarragon, parsley and cilantro


  • In a medium sized pot, combine the beef, onion, 1 teaspoon of salt, pepper, turmeric and 2 cups of water and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes or until the meat is cooked and tender. Once cooked strain well and set aside.
  • While the meat is cooking, wash the yellow split peas and place in another medium sized pot with 4 cups of water. Bring the pot to a boil while watching for some foam forming on top. Remove as needed.
  • Cover and cook over low flame for about 30-40 minutes or until the split peas are tender.
  • Drain completely and add to the bowl with the cooked meat.
  • Place the mixture of cooked meat and yellow split peas in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is reasonably creamy and smooth.
  • Remove from the food processor and transfer back into the mixing bowl.
  • Add the remaining salt, spices and eggs and flour and mix well by hand.
  • Taking a small amount of the Shami, about 4-5 tablespoons and form into a round ball. Flatten into the size of your palm, and poke a hole in the center. Set aside until ready for frying
  • In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add sufficient amount of oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Place the patties into the oil and cook for about 5 minutes on each side, flipping once.
  • Repeat until all the patties have been cooked and adding oil as needed.
  • Arrange the Shami on a platter and garnish with a medley of leafy greens and fresh herbs.
  • Serve with flatbreads or Persian steamed saffron basmati rice accompanied by a side of yogurt.


  • Adjust the amount of rice flour, if the mixture was too wet and needed additional binding. 
  • I save the broth from cooking the meat and the yellow split peas and use it later in the week as soup stock. 
  • The meat patties can be prepared ahead and kept in an airtight container overnight until ready for frying.