ash-e-reshteh: persian noodle soup

ash reshteh
the other day someone asked me to share my recipe for ash reshteh (recipe comes from my mom, by the way), and it was as if a light bulb went off in my head-i realized how much i was missing one of my all time favorite foods. this delicious and hearty noodle soup is intertwined with so many of my good memories: of new year’s day celebrations, weekend lunches at grandma’s, after ski āshdelivered warmth in the alborz mountains (shemshak for those of you familiar), and those regular childhood days at  home when my mom used her (beloved) pressure cooker (toot toot toooot) to cook the beans for this soup (i so looked forward to eating). my mom is known not only for her cooking skills, but for her efficiency in the kitchen, and the pressure cooker is probably one of her favorite gadgets. for some reason, i have yet to purchase one, but one of these days (when i get over my anxiety) i think i’ll l be cooking my beans in a matter of minutes too!
this is how wikipedia describes Ash Reshteh (آش رشته‎):one of the most famous types of āsh (thick winter soup), made commonly in Iran. The ingredients used are reshteh (very thin noodles), kashk (whey-like dairy product), herbs such as parsley, spinach, dill, spring onion ends and sometimes coriander, chick peas, black eye beans, lentils, onions, flour, dried mint, garlic, oil, salt and pepper.” looking at the ingredients, it’s clear that as usual, my family has our own version (the best one, of course) of a traditional dish-if you decide to make it, and i think you should, be prepared to spend a few hours ENJOYING the process…take your time, play some music, pour yourself a drink, and have fun cooking! as always, i  recommend cooking your own beans (although you could save time by using canned)-so you might want to get up and soak some right now (navy and garbanzo). every time i cook traditional persian food, i’m reminded of the abundance of natural and nutritious ingredients-this is real, non-processed food: good-for-you fresh herbs and vegetables, grains, beans, and spices. this “āsh” can easily be made vegetarian by increasing the “piaz dagh” or fried onions and using water instead of broth. noosh-e-jan!
{recipe below-click on read more}
  • 1/2 cup garbanzo beans
  • 1/2 cup navy or white beans
  • 1 cup small green lentils
  • 2 large onions peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced (optional)
  • 3 tbs turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground saffron (optional, but good)
  • 3-4 tbs olive oil
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup liquid kashk (whey)-substitute sour cream if necessary
  • 8-10 cups fresh organic baby spinach
  • 1 large bunch  organic flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 2 bunches organic cilantro, roughly chopped (about 3 cups)
  • 15-20 chives (green onions) thinly sliced (1 cup)
  • 4 tbs good quality dried mint
  • 4 cups home made beef or chicken broth (leave out for vegetarian)
  • 1 cup “reshteh“, or persian wheat noodles, broken in three pieces (or substitute linguine)
lentils simmering with fried onions and turmeric

1. start by cooking the presoaked beans in water for about 45 minutes to an hour. at the same time, fry the thinly sliced onions in olive oil with a touch of turmeric until golden brown to make “piaz dagh”(see recipe here). after removing the onions from the oil add the minced garlic (if using) and fry for a few seconds until just golden. set aside for garnish.
2. in a deep heavy pot combine about 1/2 of the fried onions with 6 cups of water, 1-2 tbs turmeric, sea salt (2 tsp), pepper, and the lentils. cook the lentils on a low simmer for about 45 minutes until tender.
3. add the cooked white beans and garbanzo beans to the pot along with the broth (or water) and allow the soup to simmer for another 25-30 minutes. while you wait, wash and chop the herbs and spinach (leave spinach leaves whole), then add to the ash and mix well.

4. allow the herbs and spinach to cook for about 30 minutes, then add the noodles (broken in three pieces, and a heaping tablespoon of dried mint, another tbs or two of the fried onions and the saffron. simmer until the noodles have cooked, about 20 minutes, then taste and adjust for salt and pepper (keep in mind the kashk can be salty). at this time add more water or broth if necessary (too thick)-if the ash seems too thin, add a tbs or two of whole wheat flour diluted in cold water and allow the ash to thicken by simmering for 15 minutes while stirring a few times.

5. once the noodles are cooked, add 1/2 of the kashk, and mix well. the remaining kashk can be added to the top of the ash when it’s served.

6. heat 1-2 tbs of olive oil and add 2 tbs of mint for just a few seconds (fried dry mint) before removing from heat. this “nanah dagh” or hot mint is drizzled over the top of the ash as garnish along with some kashk, the remaining “piaz dagh” as well as the fried garlic (as seen below). yum-yum-yum!

cooking minette's ash reshteh
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3 Comments on “ash-e-reshteh: persian noodle soup

  1. Hello,
    I made this today and everyone liked it. The good thing was, in one of the few instances, I actually managed to follow a recipe in such a way that the final product came very close to the picture posted here. Great healthy food for Spring.
    Thank you and Cheers

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