Khoresh 'eh Rivas (Persian Rhubarb Stew)

February 25, 2022
3 Ratings
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

This flavorful Persian stew recipe is the best thing to make when rhubarb is in season, and all you want for dinner is a flavorful bowl of meat and veggies. "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's more elaborate, deliberate, and nuanced. You'll soon find out why after you make this delectable dish.

“Khoresh rivas,” or rhubarb stew, isn't just good, it's amazing. Pieces of succulent rhubarb and tender meat (you can use lamb, beef, veal, or any combination you'd like) in an aromatic herb-infused pool of tart and savory flavors. The turmeric, garlic, ginger, saffron, parsley, and mint all come together to result in a stew that's delicious, sophisticated, and inviting. You'll happily serve this to friends and family no matter what the occasion.

Keep in mind that khoresh is usually served with polo, which is a Persian-style steamed rice. There are so many versions of polo, depending on how you grew up and whom you ask, but feel free to use whatever kind of rice you have on hand, or go all out and make sabzi polo in anticipation and in celebration of springtime. Typically, each person gets two ladles of the stew to pour over and mix with their rice. Second helpings are inevitable and encouraged. You shouldn't be surprised if there aren't any leftovers. It's as beautiful as it is easy to make.

Noosheh jaan! —Fig and Quince

What You'll Need
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 3 sprigs mint, finely chopped, or 1 tablespoon dried mint
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pound stewing meat (lamb, beef, veal), cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon grated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated peeled ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground saffron, dissolved in hot water (optional)
  • 4 stalks fresh rhubarb
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
  1. In a small skillet over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil. Cook the parsley and fresh mint, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, until fragrant and slightly wilted. (If using dried mint, cook the parsley first, then add the dried mint at the final minute.) Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
  2. In a large pot over medium heat, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of the oil until sizzling. Add the onions, season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally (avoid over-stirring), for 5 to 7 minutes, until golden and translucent. Add the turmeric and pepper and stir to combine.
  3. Add the meat to the onion mixture and cook, stirring in the garlic and ginger after 2 minutes, for about 5 minutes total, until browned on all sides.
  4. Add 2½ cups of water to the pot, season with salt, and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally and adding the reserved parsley mixture and saffron, if using, halfway through, for about 1 hour, depending on the type of meat, until the meat is tenderly cooked. 
  5. While the meat is cooking, wash the rhubarb. Peel off the thin outer skin and strings. Cut the stalks into 2-inch pieces.
  6. When the meat is cooked, add the rhubarb, gently stir to combine, and adjust the seasonings. Partially cover the pot and cook for another 15 minutes, until the rhubarb is tender and cooked through.
  7. Taste, and if you so desire, and only if you must, add the 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
  • sicktastic

11 Reviews

sicktastic September 25, 2023
Epic way to use rhubarb!
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!
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.
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!
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!