Saturday, April 26, 2014

RECIPE: Iranian Spinach Soup

In Oman, there are a select number of Omanis who cook more soups and salads, and with a greater  dependency on vegetables, than the other groups of Omanis in the Sultanate. These tend to be Omanis of an Iranian/persian descent (I don't mean to generalize) and it is through them that I came to know a rather ancient 'persian' recipe called 'aish (like the Omani word for rice, but from farsi). Iranians back in my home country also are rather fond of it, and I remember going out for Iranian food after friday prayers rather fondly, and eating "ash". Apparently the true name is a'ish reshteh, meaning 'noodle soup'. I googled it, no one told me. I also found the following recipe, and made it with success at home. Since I am domestically challenged, this may assure you that the recipe totally works. More simply, one may call it in English

Iranian Spinach Soup

-2 large onions, sliced thinly length wise
-6-8 cloves of garlic, minced (five if you are using fresh Omani garlic straight from the garden that hasn't been watered in recent months)
-1/3 cup chickpeas
-1/3 cup red beans
-1/2 cup lentils
-2 tsp turmeric
-3 cups fresh parsley (packed – equivalent to 1 1/2 bunch)
-2 cups fresh cilantro (packed – equivalent to 1 bunch)
-20 springs of fresh chives or  scallions ( green portion of scallions only)
-1 1/2 lb baby spinach
-2 oz reshteh (I used way less, and it worked, and I didn't have traditional reshteh noodles so I used those thin little noodles Omanis usually fry up with sugar?---worked nicely---same as the kind used in Moroccan harira soup)
-1 tbsp flour

1. Soak beans for a few hours in water (overnight is better or used canned beans)
2. Sauté onion and garlic until translucent.  Add chickpeas, red beans, and turmeric.  Sauté for a few minutes together.
3. Add 8 cups of water. Season with salt, cover and cook for one hour. In the mean time rough chop all the herbs.
4. Add lentils and herbs to pot. Cover and cook for another 1/2 hour on low. Stir the pot every so often during the cooking process.
5. Break off reshteh (noodles) into three sections and add to the pot.
6. Add spinach. You will need to add half of it first and allow for the first batch to wilt, then add a second batch. Cook covered for another 1/2 hour.  Make sure to stir the pot every so often.
7.  Place flour in a small bowl.  Take 3 tablespoons of the liquid from the soup and add to the flour. Mix well until there are no lumps. When adding flour to soups it is always a good idea to use this technique to ensure that there are no lumps in the soup.
8. Add water and flour to the soup.  Adjust seasoning by adding salt.  Cook for 1/2 hour longer on low.  At this point your soup is ready as the beans should be cooked. You can further cook the soup to deepen the flavors, however, it must be on very low temperature, since this soup is very thick, chances are the bottom will stick.
Traditionally, whey is used as a garnish, but sour cream works too. I like mine with neither, but if you wanted to have it the old way...
I hate spinach, don't generally eat red meat or fish, will never, ever eat liver, but with a severe iron deficiency, which many Omanis tend to be prone to as well, this soup is super good on boosting iron levels. And the spinach tastes good too, when made into this soup, ha.


Anonymous said...

OMG! i LOVE this soup! I tried it a couple of times in Iranian restaurant- loved it!

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

Anon: Hope you like the recipe too!

It is one of my favourite Iranian dishes.


Nice posts, i do copy some pics,, i am from india