Persian New Year, or Nourooz, is a celebration of the arrival of spring. The festivities are rich in symbolism, and this soup is no exception: eating noodles (reshteh) is supposed to bring good luck for new endeavours, and the untangling of the noodles represents the unravelling of life's difficult knots. So tuck in and enjoy this soup to usher in the new season, and hopefully some good fortune with it!
Serves: 8 people
Time: A few hours
* indicates optional ingredients
50g dried kidney beans, soaked for 24 hours in freshly boiled water with a pinch of baking soda
50g dried chickpeas, soaked for 24 hours in freshly boiled water with a pinch of baking soda
400g brown or green lentils, soaked for 7-18 hours in warm water with 2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
3 large onions, sliced
9-10 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric
1.5 tablespoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1.5 teaspoons ground ginger
200g reshteh, or wheat noodles
8-10 spring onions, sliced
1 cup fresh dill (about 1 bunch), coarsely chopped
2 cups fresh parsley (about 2-3 bunches), coarsely chopped
1 kg frozen chopped spinach
10 cloves garlic, sliced
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons dried mint
Kashk* (Can replace with sour cream; omit for dairy-free)
Gheimeh* (Persian lamb stew)
In a very large pot, heat up a generous amount of oil or ghee. Brown the onions and garlic: it's worth taking the time to get some colour on these, it adds great depth of flavour.
Drain and rinse the soaked kidney beans and chickpeas, and add to the pot along with the salt, pepper and turmeric. Sauté, stirring, for a couple of minutes.
Add the broth and about 2.5 litres of water to the pot. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 1 hour.
Then, drain and rinse the soaked lentils, and add them to the pot along with the cumin, coriander and ginger. Cook for 40 minutes longer, or until everything is nice and soft.
Add water if the soup seems way too thick. Pulse the soup a couple of times using a hand blender. (Don't blitz it too much, we just want to thicken the soup slightly here).
Break up the reshteh into shorter pieces in your hands, and add to the pot. Cook for about 10 minutes.
Add in the fresh herbs and spinach, and cook for another 30 minutes. Check the soup for consistency and seasoning - add more water, salt and lime juice, to taste.
To prepare the na'na dagh, heat up a good glug of oil in a small pan. When it's hot, add the garlic, and cook until golden. Take the pan off the heat and immediately stir in the turmeric and mint.
Serve in bowls with a dollop of hot liquid kashk and a sprinkle of na'na dagh. Enjoy!
Note: The legumes are soaked to reduce phytic acid and ease digestion. Find out more here.
Based on Najmieh Batmanglij's recipe.