This vegetable and noodle soup is traditionally prepared to welcome in the Persian New Year. Noodles are believed to bring good fortune so this soup is also prepared for those embarking on something new. Packed with pulses and vegetables and finished with a refreshing burst of fried mint and garlic, this restorative soup serves as a hearty meal.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 onions, thinly sliced
- 6 garlic cloves, crushed
- 65 g (⅔ cup) dried red kidney beans, rinsed, drained
- 65g (⅔ cup) dried chickpeas
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 100 g (½ cup) dried brown lentils
- 500 ml (2 cups) good-quality beef stock
- 500 g reshteh (Persian noodles) or spaghetti, broken (see Note)
- 6 spring onions, green part only, finely chopped
- 1 cup dill, chopped
- 2 cups flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 large beetroot, peeled, chopped
- 2 bunches English spinach, leaves and stems chopped
- 300 g kashk (see Note) or sour cream, plus extra, to serve
Fried mint and garlic
- 80 ml (⅔ cup) olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 8 garlic cloves, crushed
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 20 g (½ cup) dried mint, crushed
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To make fried mint and garlic, heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic for 4 minutes or until golden. Add turmeric and mint, and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. Set aside.
Heat oil in a large heavy-based pan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes or until softened. Add kidney beans, chickpeas and turmeric, and cook for a further 2 minutes. Stir in 3 litres water and 1 tsp salt, and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, and cook, covered, for 45 minutes or until beans are tender.
Add lentils and stock, and cook, covered, for 30 minutes or until lentils are soft. Add noodles, spring onions, herbs, beetroot and half the spinach, and cook for 5 minutes or until spinach wilts. Add remaining spinach and cook, uncovered, for a further 20 minutes or until beetroot is tender. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in kashk. Top with fried mint and garlic, and extra kashk to serve.
•Reshteh are thick Persian wheat noodles. Kashk is a thick, slightly tangy liquid made from yoghurt whey (solids). See Bite-size Pieces for other ways to use kashk. Both reshteh and kashk are from Persian food shops.
As seen in Feast Magazine, Issue 13, pg88.
Photography by John Laurie