Khoresht Karafs—Persian Beef and Celery Stew

December 14, 2015

Author Notes:

Growing up in southern California, food was always a multi-cultural experience. My best friend in elementary school was Persian, in fact, many of our family friends were, and I fell instantly in love with the fresh, vibrant flavors of their cuisine. This Persian beef and celery stew—khoresht karafs—is one of my favorites—fragrant, fresh and slightly tart from the addition of lemon juice. And while it may veer slightly from the traditional ingredients I've seen in many recipes, it brings me right back to my friend's kitchen all those years ago.


Serves: 4


  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 pound beef stew meat, cubed in 1-inch pieces
  • 4 cups celery, diced
  • 1 bunch parsley, washed and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon dried mint
In This Recipe


  1. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat in a large saucepan or dutch oven, and add the onion. Sweat the onion until is translucent, and then raise the heat to medium high. Add the beef, and sear on all sides until evenly browned. Next, add the spices and salt, and stir to evenly coat all the beef. Cook for one minute, until fragrant, and then add the water. Stir the mixture well, and bring to a boil. Partially cover and lower the heat to a simmer. Allow the beef to simmer for an hour.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, heat the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the celery and parsley, and cook stirring often, until slightly softened and translucent, about 10 minutes. Set aside until ready to use.
  3. After simmering the beef for one hour, add the celery and parsley mixture to the pot, along with the lemon juice and dried mint. Allow the mixture to simmer for 30 minutes, or more, until the beef is fully tender. Check for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if necessary. Serve with traditional Persian basmati rice, with its golden brown tadig for added texture and tradition.

More Great Recipes:
Stew|Persian|Celery|Lemon Juice|Mint|Vegetable|Parsley|Beef|Make Ahead|Fall|Winter|Entree

Reviews (1) Questions (0)

1 Review

Parvin January 29, 2018
Delicious.<br />But in Southern California it's very easy to find dried limes, instead of the lemon juice. The limes give it that authentic "musty" sort of taste. It's also missing the fenugreek leaves, but those are more difficult to obtain outside this area so I understand the need for simplification. <br />Also, I've never seen or eaten this stew with the celery diced. I've only seen it cut into 2 inch lengths. It tastes the same I suppose but the look and the mouth feel is much different.