What I love most about Persian cuisine is balance, not just of flavours but also of textures and temperatures. In most dishes you’ll find sweet, salty and sour flavours in perfect harmony. Soft dishes like stews are often paired with crunchy rice, nuts, potatoes or raw vegetables. And each meal is served with an abundance of fresh herbs.
Some of my favourite stews are Khoresh-e Gheymeh, Khoresh-e Bademjoon, khoresh-e fesenjoon and this Khoresh-e Bamiyeh.
As much as I believe that some recipes should be cooked, enjoyed and celebrated just the way they were decades ago, passed down from grandmothers to mothers and to daughters, desperate times call for desperate measures. Here is the vegan adaptation of Khoresh-e Bamiyeh.
What you will need –
- Pigeon Pea Lentils – 1 cup (washed till the water runs clear)
- Tomato Sauce – 1/2 cup (sub with 4 large fresh tomatoes + 2 tablespoons tomato paste)
- Onions – 1 large, chopped
- Dried limes (Limoo amani) – 2, crushed (sub with 1.5 tablespoons tamarind paste)
- Pomegranate molasses – 1.5 tablespoons (sub with 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar)
- Turmeric powder – 1 teaspoon
- Coriander powder – 1.5 teaspoon
- Ground cinnamon – 1/4 teaspoon
- Garlic – 4 large cloves, minced
- Bay leaf – 1 large, torn
- Olive oil – 2 tablespoons
- Okra – 250 – 300 gms
- Vegetable broth – 3 cups
- Salt – a generous pinch
(Substituting dried lime and pomegranate molasses is only recommended in truly desperate times such as this lockdown. Both ingredients are easily available at specialty food stores but are also easy to make at home.)
- Heat a large, heavy bottom pot with a lid, add oil, garlic and onions. Sauté for 7-8 mins, stirring occasionally.
- Add the diced tomato sauce, bay leaf, turmeric, coriander and cinnamon. Sauté for 5 mins to allow the spices to bloom.
- Add washed lentils, broth and dried limes. Stir to combine.
- Cover the pot, bring it up to a boil, and then turn it down to a simmer. Let it cook until the lentils are tender, about 25 minutes stirring occasionally.
- Add pomegranate molasses and okra. Cook until tender, about 7-10 minutes.
- Garnish with fresh herbs – coriander/spring onions/ dill/ parsley.
Serving notes :
Best paired with a fresh cucumber – yogurt – pomegranate salad and rice Tahdig but can also be served with plain basmati rice.
If you make this recipe, you know the drill: Let me know!