Today is December 21, the day that marks the beginning of winter. We still have four days before Christmas and the food orgie that accompanies the holidays.
Nevertheless, despite my impatience for the arrival of Christmas and the new year, I’m a little sad to see the joyous December approaching its end. This month alone compiles in fact 15 different holidays from here and there. It therefore gives the world 15 reasons to be cheerful, to wish the best to those around them and of course to eat good food.
These meals accompany Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, but also Yalda. For me Yalda is an important one since I had the privilege to celebrate it with family since childhood. Yalda is a Persian feast which celebrates the longest night of the year (so tonight). And as in any festivity, at Yalda night we do not forget to eat! The tradition is that for Yalda, all family members gather around a heating stove to recite poems of Hafez and stuff themselves with pistachios, almonds, beautiful winter fruits (pomegranades and persimons) and black tea.
In my family there was no exception. My beloved grandmother pushing gluttony even a little further would prepare for this occasion the Ashe-e-Resteh, the favorite soup of every iranian. So today I’m gonna make the best out of this occasion and share the Ash-e-Reshteh‘s recipe with you.
To simplify things, Ash-e-Reshteh can be translated as “noodle soup”. However be aware that the Reshteh can not be replaced by any noodle or even less spaghettis (it is experience talking). If you are tempted by this recipe and wish to try it, you will probably find Reshteh in any Iranian grocery store *. It is also known as Kesme (if I’m not mistaken) in grocery stores selling products from certain Central Asian countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan) or Turkey.
Today’s recipe is the essential Iranian soup: Ashe-e-Reshteh. Lots of herbs, lots of noodles and lots of winter goodness!
. 75g Red beans
. 75g Chickpeas
. 75g Green Lentils
. 2 Onions (1 for soup – 1 for garnish)
. Olive oil
. 2 Tsp Curcuma
. 4 Tbsp dried mint (3 for soup – 1 for garnish)
. 2L Water
. 1/2 parsley bunch
. 1/2 coriander bunch
. 1/2 Green onions or leek bunch (green parts only)
. 6 Tbsp kashk (for garnish)
. 2 Garlic cloves (for garnish)
. 200g Reshteh
Let the red beans, green lentils and chick peas soak in water for 12 hours. (if you are using canned food products, you can skip this step).
Cut one of the onions and fry in a pan with olive oil.
Once the onion starts to get golden, add turmeric, and fry for 3 more minutes.
Add 3 tablespoons of dried mint, lightly crushed with your hands.
Pour the contents of the pan and your drained legumes in a large pot with 1 liter of water. Simmer for one hour (if you are using canned legumes, 20 minutes will do).
Chop the parsley, cilantro and the tops of the green onion.
Add herbs to the pot another 1L of water and simmer for 20 minutes.
During that time, you can prepare the garnish. Start with the kashk: heat it with a spoon of water on low heat for 20 minutes.
In a pan fry in olive oil the second onion (thinly sliced), garlic (cut into small cubes) and the rest of the dried mint. The mint will become black after a few minutes. This is normal.
It’s finally time for the Reshteh! Put your noodles into the pot and let it boil for 10 minutes before serving.
Decorate your Aash-e-Reshteh with Kashk, garlic cubes, onions, and fried mint. Some like to season their Aash with a little vinegar. Maybe you can give it a try as well.