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Ghormeh Sabzi

From Hami Sharafi

  • 61 - 90 Minutes
  • Hard
  • Serves 4

Ghormeh Sabzi is sometimes referred to as the Persian national dish. This hearty lamb stew with herbs and dried limes is popular for good reason. The tender meat with a golden brown crust, the rich heartiness of gently fried herbs and a hint of tartness from the dried limes and lemon juice create an explosion of flavour. Paired with aromatic saffron rice and crispy tahdig, this makes a plate full of heaven.




  • 400g Tilda Pure Basmati dry rice
  • 500 g lamb leg or shoulder, cut into inch-sized cubes
  • Any bones that come with the meat (optional)
  • 175g fresh parsley
  • 175g fresh chives
  • 100g fresh fenugreek OR 30g dried fenugreek leaves (fresh and dried available at Middle Eastern supermarkets, dried also available online)
  • 2 onions
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 5 dried limes (available at Middle Eastern supermarkets or online)
  • 120g red kidney beans (canned or dry)
  • 1 lemon
  • 8 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp salt + extra to taste
  • 1/4 tsp saffron, ground
  • 3 ice cubes



  1. Sprinkle the ground saffron over the ice cubes in a glass. Set them aside to melt, preferably in a warm place.

  2. Peel and finely chop the onions and garlic, keeping them separate.

  3. Finely chop the chives, parsley and fresh fenugreek, if you have any. Combine the fresh, chopped herbs in a bowl.

  4. Sear the meat and any bones that may come with it in a few tbsp of vegetable oil over high heat until golden brown all around. Remove them from the pan.

  5. Gently caramelise the onions in the same oil for about 15 minutes, adding extra vegetable oil if needed. Add the garlic and let both sauté together for another 3 minutes.

  6. Fry the herbs in about 4 tbsp vegetable oil for about 15 minutes until dark green in colour. Add the dried fenugreek towards the last 2 minutes.

  7. Transfer meat, onions, garlic, fried herbs and soaked kidney beans to a pot or pan with a lid. If using canned kidney beans, add them in the last 10 minutes of cooking time instead. Season everything with turmeric and black pepper.

  8. Carefully pierce the dried limes, using a fork and kitchen towel or oven glove to protect your hand. Add them to the other ingredients and cover them with 500ml of freshly boiled water. Combine well and let the Ghormeh Sabzi simmer over low to medium temperature for about 1.5h, stirring occasionally and adding small amounts of hot water if it becomes too thick and dry. In about 30 minutes start preparing the aromatic saffron rice with crispy tahdig.

  9. Transfer the Tilda Pure Basmati dry rice to a bowl or strainer and wash it until the draining water runs almost clear. Bring a pot full of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt to it.

  10. Add the washed rice to the boiling water and bring it back to boiling as soon as possible. Let the rice parboil for 3 minutes, then drain the cooking water and rinse .the rice with cool water.

  11. Combine some of the parboiled rice with a few teaspoons of saffron water until it is evenly yellow.

  12. Add enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of a non-stick pot. Place it over medium heat and add the saffron rice to it. Spread it evenly across the bottom of the pot, then add the remaining parboiled rice on top.

  13. Poke three holes halfway through the rice with the back of a spoon. Cover the lid with a clean kitchen towel and close it firmly. Reduce the temperature to low and let the rice steam for 45 minutes without taking the lid off!

  14. Once the rice has steamed for 45 minutes, remove the lid and replace it with an upside-down plate. Carefully flip it over. Remove the crispy tahdig to serve separately. Combine part of the rice with the remaining saffron water once again. Plate up the fluffy, white rice and arrange the golden saffron rice on top.

  15. Towards the end of the cooking time season the Ghormeh Sabzi with the juice of one lemon and more salt, if needed. Enjoy!