hearty yogurt soup {ash-e-mast}: the mushroom soup that wasn’t

persian yogurt soup or ash

on making ash~a deliciously comforting and hearty yogurt soup:

the plan is to make a nice and creamy mushroom soup for dinner with the left over mushrooms from the ragout served at my dinner party a few nights ago. i even go as far as chopping the onion and slicing a few mushrooms before my mind begins to wander towards the fragrant bag of dried tarragon my mom recently brought back from her visit home. i briefly consider adding some to my soup before i find myself rummaging through  the refrigerator where i promptly find two nice bunches of cilantro, a bunch of korean chives (how good are those), and some flat leaf parsley. wow, who knew? all i can think of at this point is how badly i want (almost need) to make ash-e-mast (yogurt soup) the way my grandma made it: thick, hearty, fragrant, creamy, and loaded with tarragon. that is how my mind works- i just can’t help myself….can’t seem to stick to the (menu) plan most of the time! at this point, i have no choice but to make ash-e-mast. no spinach? check the freezer just in case. still no spinach. well, then, it’ll have to be a spinach-less ash. i say goodbye to the mushrooms (with just a tiny bit of guilt), and promise to use them soon in some sauce or other. out comes the dutch oven, a few grains of rice, split peas, turmeric. before i know it, i’m surrounded with the overwhelmingly familiar scents of {home}. and oh i miss my grandma so.

preparing ash-e-mast for 6-8:

 

yogurt soup

  • 1/2-1 cup long grain (basmati) rice
  • 1/2 cup slow cooking yellow split peas (lappeh)
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced and fried (see method for making piaz dagh)
  • 2 cups roughly chopped organic cilantro
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions or chives
  • 1 cup roughly chopped organic flat leaf parsley
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup of fresh tarragon leaves (or slightly less dry tarragon)
  • 1-2 cups yogurt (european style) adjust amount to taste
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1-2 tsp turmeric
  • sea salt & pepper to taste
  • 4-5 cups good (preferably) home made chicken/beef/or vegetarian stock (chicken stock or broth)
  • 3-4 cups water
  1. in a dutch oven or deep heavy pot fry the onion slices with a touch of turmeric (piaz dagh), and set about 1/2 aside.ash-e-mast
  2. add rice, split peas, turmeric, sea salt & freshly ground pepper, and stock with 2-3 cups water to the fried onions, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook for about an hour, stirring occasionally.
  3. after about an hour or slightly more, the rice should have broken down and become slightly creamy. taste and adjust seasonings. add the green onions or chives, and dry tarragon if using dry. add water if too thick, stir well, cover the pot and allow it to cook for another 15-20 minutes.
  4. add the remaining herbs, adjust water (do not add too much-it should be slightly thick) stir well, taste again and adjust seasoning.ash-e-mast
  5. cook for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add remaining onions (and oil) saving a spoons for garnish, and cook for another 30 minutes or so. add the yogurt a few spoonfuls at a time. stir, taste, then add more if necessary. allow the ash to cook with the yogurt only long enough to bring the heat back up, add a few fresh tarragon leaves and the piaz dagh to the top as garnish, then serve. * yogurt may be added at the table according to each person’s taste.

 

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