Make Ahead

Khoresh 'eh Rivas -- Persian Rhubarb Stew

February 19, 2013
2 Ratings
Author Notes

Khoresh is a genre of Persian food that is not merely a staple but also a quintessential pillar of Persian cooking.  Widely translated as “stew”, Khoresh is certainly stew-like or stew-ish, but it is more elaborate, deliberate, and nuanced.

“Khoresh rivas” or rhubarb stew is not good - it is amazing. Pieces of succulent rhubarb and tender meat in an aromatic herb-infused pool of tart and savory flavors.  Delicious, sophisticated, inviting.

SERVING: Pour khoresh into a serving bowl and serve hot. (Khoresh is always served with polo - Persian style fluffy steamed rice.)
Typically, each person gets 2 ladles to pour over and mix with their rice. Second helpings are inevitable and encouraged.

Noosheh jaan! —Fig and Quince

  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Serves 4-6
  • 1 pound stewing meat (lamb, beef, veal) cut into 2" cubes
  • 4 stalks of fresh rhubarb (cut in 2" pieces)
  • 1 cup fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried mint (or 3 sprigs of fresh mint, finely chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon grated garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground saffron, dissolved in hot water (optional)
  • 1 medium-large onion (sliced)
In This Recipe
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and saute parsley and fresh mint over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.  (If using dried mint, saute parsley first, and add the dried mint at the final minute.)  Set your parsley and mint mixture aside for now
  2. Wash rhubarb stalks.  Peel off the thin-film-outer-skin and strings. Cut stalks into 2" pieces. (1" cut is traditional but we prefer this for aesthetic reasons and also because the larger size is a safety measure preventing rhubarb, which is a rather delicate vegetable when cooked, from falling apart.) Set aside for now.
  3. In a big pot, heat oil till it sizzles.  Add onions, sprinkle with salt (prevents onion from emitting liquid and getting soggy)  and saute (avoid over-stirring) over medium heat until nicely golden and translucent.  Add turmeric and pepper.  Stir to mix.
  4. Add meat to the onions, saute over medium heat until each piece of meat is browned on all sides (usually 5 minutes or so.) If you are using the optional grated ginger and garlic add those half-way through this step of browning the meat.
  5. Add 2 1/2 cups of water to the pot, add salt to taste, and bring to a boil.  Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tenderly cooked.  (Usually takes one hour, give or take, depending on the type of meat used.) Halfway through cooking the meat, add the sauteed parsley and mint mixture prepared earlier.  Now is also the time to add the dissolved saffron – if you are availing yourself of this festive option.   Stir gently to mix with the meat, cover, and continue to cook until the meat is done.
  6. Once the meat is cooked, add rhubarb, gently mix, and adjust seasoning. Partially cover pot with the lid ajar, and cook for another 15 minutes or until the rhubarb is done. (Rhubarb is delicate, as mentioned above, which is why it’s added at the last, stage of the game. Avoid over-cooking it so that it won’t fall apart.)
  7. Taste and adjust seasoning to taste. If you so desire, and only if you must, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of sugar, just enough to balance but not drown the tart flavor.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • ifjuly
  • ElaineStLouis
  • Fig and Quince
    Fig and Quince
  • Carolyn

10 Reviews

ifjuly March 10, 2020
This was so gorgeously tasty! And, I learned a totally new to me approach to stew; everything about this is different from how I'm used to thinking about it (I rarely get to use fresh herbs like parsley in that amount, almost like the main vegetable component, and never before as the foundation...and using saffron as the kind of "stock" for the stew, oh my!) and it worked beautifully, like a magical transformation. I admit that because the technique and approach to seasoning and whatnot was so unfamiliar I worried I might end up with overcooked, underseasoned meat in a watery thin gruel but instead found my entire kitchen smelled glorious throughout, and we sat down to bowls of perfectly flavorful, tender stew that was tangy-bright and simultaneously rich (both in flavor and body!), comforting, and nuanced in its layers of taste and texture (we didn't need to add any sugar, and did serve it with fluffy rice, mm). Thank you so much for sharing this recipe and going more into detail about the whole thing. It's definitely going into our spring rhubarb season rotation, might in fact now be our favorite of the savory dishes we use rhubarb in!
Carolyn June 1, 2016
What is the approximate weight of the rhubarb? I have thin/medium stalks, and my neighbor has big thick ones. Two of hers are equal in weight to twelve of mine.
Leslie V. July 5, 2020
Excellent question.
hoshi April 28, 2014
I'm so happy I discovered this recipe now! Rhubarb, parsley, and mint are all ready in the garden...
hoshi April 28, 2014
I'm so happy I found this recipe now! Rhubarb, parsley, and mint are all flourishing in the garden...
ElaineStLouis June 16, 2013
OK, thanks! Will make this tomorrow...was too tired tonight to attempt. We typically do fun dinners on Mondays...who knew?!? Do you have a good recipe for greens? We have tons from the garden...kale, collards, mustard, spinach...would like to do something to go with the stew. OR maybe add some in with the parsley? Thanks so much!
Author Comment
Fig A. June 17, 2013
Elaine, typically we would serve a plate of fresh herbs (sabzi khordan) + fresh salad + yogurt with this dish. I can send you some links - but probably best if can do so via email if you'd like.
Author Comment
Fig A. June 18, 2013
Elaine, I just noticed an email in my SPAM folder! It does not give your email account anyhow - just redirects back to Food52. Here are suggested links: Salad Shirazi (; or 2: Spinach Borani (; or 3) Cucumber and Mint yogurt: ( Personally I recommend the cucumber/mint yogurt as best accompaniment. Sorry didn't get your email in time! :(
ElaineStLouis June 16, 2013
Maybe I'm missing something, but there are no onions in the ingredient list. How much? I have the lamb and rhubarb and was planning on this for dinner tonight. Sounds fabulous. Also another great reason to break out the saffron!
Author Comment
Fig A. June 16, 2013
Oops - sorry I seem to have missed it when transcribing the recipe. You should use one onion. I have the recipe posted on my blog: Good luck making this - it's really deliciosu - and noosheh jaan!