Probably one of the most popular Persian stews, Choreshte Lape is a meal within itself! It has an extraordinary texture and a delicious, tangy taste. It is sublime on a canvas of white rice and sprinkled with very thin French fries (which you can make from scratch if you have the time
- 1 large onion, chopped -
- 3 garlic cloves, pressed -
- 1/4 cup olive oil, plus 1 Tbsp to fry the split peas -
- 2 lb stew meat, cut into bite-size pieces, about 1-inch-square -
- 2 tsp salt -
- 1 tsp pepper -
- 2 cups yellow split peas -
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon -
- 4 cups water -
- 1 6-oz can tomato paste -
- 1 large tomato, diced -
- 5 whole, dehydrated limes (lemon omani), 3 pierced and 2 crushed (if you cannot find them anywhere, add another 1/4 cup lime juice and the zest of a lime) -
- ½ cup bottled lemon or lime juice, or the juice of 3 fresh limes -
- ½ cup canned potato sticks or narrow French fries (optional) -
1. In a 6-quart saucepan, sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil until the onion starts to become translucent (about 1 minute). Add the meat; cover and cook until it is no longer red, stirring occasionally. Add the salt and pepper.
2. In the meantime, sauté the split peas in 1 Tbsp of oil for 1 minute. Add the cinnamon and mix well. Set aside.
3. Uncover the browning meat and add the water, tomato paste, diced tomato, dehydrated limes, lime juice and sautéed split peas. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is tender and the split peas are soft but still whole.
4. You may want to remove the limes before serving. Keep them in for a truly authentic Persian flavor, but if you have an American palate, don’t try to eat one whole!
5. Serve hot in a casserole dish. Garnish with potato sticks or French fries, if desired.
NOTE: Remember how I told you that overcooking basmati rice can ruin a Persian cook’s reputation? Well, if a Persian cook’s yellow split peas are all mushy and shapeless, that will also send her reputation down the drain! But there is nothing to worry about, since the trick of whole-yettender split peas is to simply sauté them in a bit of oil with a dash of cinnamon. I know what you are thinking… but don’t try it with the rice… the trick doesn’t work there!
This article appeared in Kosher Inspired, Issue 3, March 2011. Kosher Inspired is brought to you by Mishpacha Magazine.