This is a simple but very tasty dish that, for me, not only satisfies my hunger, but warms my heart and soothes my occasional longing for home, even after all these years. However, as soon as I start cooking gheymeh, slicing an onion and pouring oil into a heated pan, the aroma of sauteed onion with turmeric, browning meat, stirring in those tiny yellow split peas and piercing the dried lemons, I feel at home once again.
2 pounds meat (lamb or beef), washed and cut into small pieces
1 cup yellow split peas, picked over and washed, no need to pre-soak. You may use 1 1/2 cup of peas if you like.
1 large onion, peeled, thinly sliced or chopped
2-3 tablespoons of tomato paste
3-4 dried lemons (limoo amani) may be purchased from an Iranian grocery store. Soak them in water and then pierce them in a few places with a dinner fork.
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Juice of 1-2 lemon/limes
1 teaspoon rose water *optional
Vegetable oil for sauteing meat and onion (about 2-3 tablespoons)
2 large potatoes, peeled, sliced and fried for topping
Salt and pepper to taste
- Place a heavy skillet on medium heat, add oil when it becomes hot add sliced onions and saute till they turn translucent, add turmeric and stir. After a minute or two, add the meat and brown on all sides. Add a teaspoon of salt and 1/2 a teaspoon of black pepper. Mix well.
- Add the yellow split peas and saute for 5 minutes. Add water to cover all the ingredients (about 4 cups), spoon in the the tomato paste. Mix thoroughly.
- Add in the dried lemon. Lower the heat, simmer for about one hour or an hour and a half till the meat is well-cooked. You don't want to over cook khoresh-e gheymeh. Peas should also be well-cooked, but at the same time they shouldn't turn too soft and mushy. Add water and adjust the seasoning when needed.
- In the last ten minutes add the rose water and the lemon juice and cook.