Ash Reshteh, made with herbs, legumes, and noodles is the most popular & famous "thick soup" across all regions of Iran, especially during winter. It is also one of the main dishes of Norooz (Persian new year - starts 20-21st march). It is very similar to the Italian Minestrone. Very rich and aromatic because of the fresh herbs, turmeric and the 3 very important toppings for Iranian thick soups: Piāz dāgh (fried/caramelized onion), Sir dāgh (fried garlic) & Nanā dāgh (fried mint)!
Ash reshte basicly is a vegan dish but in different regions it serves in a different ways; In some of the regions "Kashk" ( a thick whitish dairy similar to whey or sour cream, and commonly used in traditional Persian & Kurdish cuisine) is added to the whole Ash Reshteh, in other regions it is used as a topping. In other regions vinegar or Torshi (sour pickles) are often used instead of Kashk. In fact, it all depends on your taste and how you like your Ash Reshteh!
In old Persia the word "Ash" had the meaning of "food", or anything with nourishing potential. During the years, though, the word specialized and it is now used to refer to thick soups; made with herbs, vegetables, often with the addition of Reshteh (persian noodle/pasta) or long grain rice. In fact this Ash (thick soup) called "Ash Reshteh" because of the use of Reshteh (Persian noodle/pasta) in it.
Some tips before you started:
Cook your Ash Rehsteh in a large pot.
The heat should always be on high or medium-high heat; cooking the Ash Reshteh on low heat will make it washy and very dark in color.
Stirring and being present while you're making your Ash is the key of this delicious, beautiful, Persian thick soup.
Never cover the pot while cooking Ash Reshte, that will kill the beautiful color of your legumes and herbs, you can add boiled water or broth if needed.
You can find Reshteh (Persian noodle/pasta) in any Persian store in US and UK; otherwise you always can use Linguine Pasta. But remember that Persian noodle is only made with flour, water and lot of salt; in fact if you use it for this recipe, be careful with additional salt. In shape and size they are exactly like Linguine Pasta, but white.
You can also find the dry herbs & Kashk in any Persian store. Otherwise you can replace the dry herbs with the fresh ones. And replace the Kashk with yogurt.
Calamintha nepata is from a mint family and it's the variety it used in Iran and in Persian cuisine.
The herbs should be chopped in the size of basil leaves or even a little bit smaller. Usually for cooking you should remove them and let them dry out on a clean sheet; but in this case, after washing them with cold water, they can be used straight from the colander.
You can also doubled the quantity of toppings by making more of caramelized onion, fried garlic and fried Calamintha nepata. That will make your Ash even tastier —Noghlemey
- Serves 4/6
red or common beans
mung beans (optional)
fresh coriander leaves
dry calamintha nepata
garlic (10 cloves)
onions ( 2 big )
dry coriander leaves
dry chive/spring onion leaves
dry parsley leaves
chili powder (optional)
freshly ground black pepper
Persian reshteh or linguine pasta
Cooked beatroot (cold)
- Prepare Legumes 12-24 hours in advanced; soak the garbanzo & beans in cold water, rinse and change the water at least 2-3 times. Let the bean's germ grow inside (but not come outside), that's a very important source of calcium. Also Soak the lentils and mung beans for 1-2 hours. Cook them in a big pot, then rinse and keep them aside for later.
- Trim and cut all the hard stems of the parsley, spinach & coriander. It's always better to chop the herbs while they're dry; place every single bunch of herbs separately on the cutting board and then, using a sharp knife, chop the herbs to smaller pieces. Then soak them in cold water using a pasta colander and a bowl. Wash & Rinse them with cold water and set them aside for later. Trim, wash and chop all the spring onions too. (white and green parts)
- prepare the "nannā dāgh" by adding 80 ml of sunflower oil in a small pot/pan, when is hot, turn the heat off, remove the pot/pan from the flame, add 2-3 tablespoon of calamintha nepata and set aside for later.
- Prepare the "Sir dāgh" by chopping the garlic cloves in very small pieces or by slicing them very thinly, then add 80 ml of sunflower oil into a small pot/pan, when is hot, remove the pot from the flame, add the garlic into the oil and let it out of the flame for 2-3 minutes; this will help the oil get the best of the garlic's flavor. Then put the pot/pan back on the flame and let the garlic fry until very golden and almost brown. Remove from the pot and set aside for later.
- Soak the dry coriander leaves, dry chive leaves, and dry parsley leaves together in some cold water and set them aside for later.
- Use the same pot you used for frying the onions to make the spice mixture; add some olive oil, when it's hot, add 2-3 tablespoon of the prepared caramelized onions, 2 tablespoon fried garlic, 2 tablespoon calamintha nepata, turmeric, chili powder, potato starch, freshly ground black pepper and salt. Cook on medium heat until the turmeric and the potato starch loosen their rawness and the mixture comes together, remove from the pot for later.
- Use the same pot, add a tablespoon of prepared caramelized onion, when it's hot add the chopped spring onions and fry them until soften and translucent, then add 1 small cup of chopped spinach and stir until soft, pour 2-3 liter of boiling water. Turn the heat off and use a blender to blend the onions and spinaches, until you have a very fine and thin mixture. This is not a traditional way to do it, but it helps a lot to thicken your soup.
- Meanwhile add some boiling water to the kashk (if you have the tick one); stir until you're happy with the thickness.
- For a vegan Ash-e Reshreh, serve it with the remaining fried/caramelized onion, fried garlic, fried mint, cold beetroot or some vinegar. For a vegetarian option you can also add some Kashk.