Ghormeh Sabzi (translates to herby stew)

For those of you who are not too familiar with Persian cooking, I can tell you that some of the flavours and dishes are amongst the best in the world.  However some are quite time consuming to make.

This dish is one of the most loved Persian dishes and is my absolute favourite.

Originally, most Persian stews are made with lamb, however I now substitute lamb with Shiitake mushrooms as they give a similar texture to ‘meat’ yet it has a lovely earthy flavour which I love.

Ideally you need to be well prepared to make this dish and source all the ingredients (ideally from a Middle-Eastern or Indian store.

I will detail in steps how and where to source and at what stages to make this simply beautiful and nutritious dish.

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 cup cabbage finely sliced (or 1 large onion if you eat this)
1/2 cup celery, finely sliced
1 tsp turmeric
Pinch of saffron
2 cups of shiitake mushrooms (kept whole, stalks removed as these can be quite hard)
4 dried Persian limes (Morrisons stock these if you don’t have a Middle-eastern/Indian shop around).  These should be pre-soaked for approx. 2 hours to allow them to soften
1 carton/can kidney beans, drained
4 cups fresh parsley, chopped finely
4 cups fresh coriander, chopped finely
1 cup fresh fenugreek, chopped finely (can be bought fresh from Indian stores or frozen in most high street supermarkets in the Indian foods section)
salt & pepper to taste
Sunflower oil

Method

  1. Sauté the cabbage/onion in a saucepan with 1 tbsp oil, for a few minutes
  2. Add the celery and sauté for a further couple minutes
  3. Add turmeric and saffron
  4. Add a couple tbsp of hot water so the cabbage/onion doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan enabling the saffron to also melt
  5. Add the shiitake mushrooms
  6. Season well with salt and pepper
  7. Add the dried limes and kidney beans and mix well
  8. Cover with 1 cup of hot water and turn the heat down and simmer for approx. 15 minutes
  9. Meanwhile in a frying pan, put 2 tbsp of sunflower oil and gently sauté all the ‘greens’ on a low/medium heat as you don’t want the mix to burn.  You need to sauté the greens for about 20-30 minutes until they have darkened in colour
  10. Once the greens are ready, add these to the saucepan with the other ingredients.  In the frying pan where you have just sautéed the greens, add 2 cups of hot water and with a wooden spoon scrape all the remaining greens off the sides and bottom and then pour the water into the saucepan
  11. Bring the mixture to a boil before turning the heat down to low and cooking for approx. 2 hours.  If you have a slow cooker, this is a great dish to use in that.
  12. At regular intervals check on the stew, mix it and see if it needs additional water so not to dry out.

Rice

  1. After the stew has been cooking for an hour (with a further hour to go), you can start to make the rice
  2. Traditionally this stew is served with white Basmati rice and saffron
  3. For 6 people, use 4 cups of rice.  Wash thoroughly in a bowl with cold water and keep rinsing until the water is clear
  4. Put the rice in a saucepan with 8 cups of cold water, 1 tsp salt and 2 tbsp of sunflower oil and bring to a boil
  5. Once the rice has boiled and the water looks like it is going to run out (approx. 20 minutes), rinse the rice out into a drainer
  6. Back in the saucepan, add 2 tbsp of sunflower oil, a sprinkle of salt and 4 tbsp of just boiled water and a pinch of saffron.  If you like ‘Tadik’ which is the crunchy part at the bottom of the rice (usually made out of the rice or some use potatoes, I always use potatoes then add thin slices of potato laid out to cover the bottom of the pan).  This is the part everyone fights over!
  7. Gently ladle the rice back into the pan, add a drizzle of sunflower oil, sprinkle of salt and approx. 6 tbsp of just boiled water along the top and cover the lid with a tea towel or good quality kitchen towel (this allows the rice to steam cook), turn the heat down and cook for approx. 45 minutes
  8. Toward the end of the cooking time, turn the heat up to medium/high so that you can start to crispin the bottom of the pan to create the traditional ‘Tadik’ – this takes approx. 10 minutes
  9. When you come to serve the rice, we normally remove the lid and serve it into a bigger than the saucepan dish, by covering the saucepan with the dish and turning the whole pot upside down so the rice and ‘tadik’ can come out in one piece and will look like a beautiful savoury cake.

Once both dishes are ready, these dishes are normally served with a salad of green leaves and fresh herbs, cucumber and radishes, Persian style.

So as you can see this is a totally fully nutritionally packed ‘green’ dish that is not only tasty, it will contribute to your 5 or 10 a day………

**Note of warning – when making the rice and get to the steaming part, ensure that the tea towel you use is clean and when rolled to cover the lid of the pot, has no sides dangling as you don’t want it to catch fire – please see last picture below**

Tadik Rice with Potato

Tadik Saffron Rice

Sabzi Khordan (Fresh herb salad           accompaniment)

     Towel covered lid for steaming