Khoresh Gheymeh: A Traditional Iranian Dish with Meat and Yellow Split Peas


It's name is "Gheymeh!"  Khoresh-e Gheymeh! I will not call this dish a stew, or a casserole, or anything else for that matter. In my book it's one of the top five Khoresh's and there are many delicious stews in the Persian cuisine. Hopefully, I'll get to share them with you all, one dish at a time!


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.


Khoresh Gheymeh

Ingredients:
Serves 4-6

2 pounds meat (lamb or beef), washed and cut into small pieces
1 cup yellow split peas, picked over and washed.
1 large onion, peeled, chopped
2-3 tablespoons tomato paste
4-5 dried limes (limoo amani) may be purchased from an Iranian/Persian grocery stores. Soak them in water for 5 minutes and then pierce them in a few places with a dinner fork.
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
A pinch of cinnamon
1 teaspoon  rosewater *optional
Salt and pepper to taste
Vegetable oil
Water
2 large potatoes, peeled, sliced and fried for topping

Method:
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a small pot over medium heat, add the tomato paste and saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until it starts to change color. Set aside.
  2. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large pan over medium heat, add the onions and saute until they are translucent, add turmeric and stir well. After a minute or two, add the meat and brown on all sides. Add salt, pepper and a pinch of cinnamon. Stir well. 
  3. Add the yellow split peas to the pot and saute for 5 minutes, spoon in the the tomato paste. Mix thoroughly. 
  4. Add water to cover all the ingredients in the pot by 1-2 inches. Add in the dried limes. Lower the heat, cover and cook for about 1-1/4 hours or until the meat is well-cooked.  Add a little bit of water and adjust the seasoning when needed. 
  5. Yellow split peas shouldn't turn too soft and mushy, they still need to have a bit of bite to them. You may parboil them separately until they are just tender and add them to the pot in the last 30 minutes.
  6. In the last ten minutes add the rosewater if you like.
Gheymeh  is usually served with fried potatoes on top. Serve gheymeh in a large bowl and top with a layer of  fries. Serve warm with basmati rice, mast o khiar, salad shirazi, and torshi.

Enjoy!

34 comments:

  1. Hey, we made this at our Persian dinner, too! :) Lovely stew. Your photo and presentation are gorgeous, btw.

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  2. my husband favorites :D

    btw, what main dish i can make for persian new year, Azita ? I would like to make something for my husband, since he has no family here..

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  3. Maninas, It is a lovely dish and I'm glad you've made it before.

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  4. Fitri, The two most common traditional Persian New Year dishes are:
    1-Kookoo sabzi (vegetable kookoo) I included the links here:
    http://turmericsaffron.blogspot.com/2009/03/kookoo-sabzi.html
    2-Sabzi polow with mahi (vegetable rice with smoked fish or fried/baked fish)
    http://turmericsaffron.blogspot.com/2009/03/herb-rice-fish-sabzi-polow-mahi.html

    Pleas let me know if you have any questions. Happy New Year to you and your dear family.

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  5. we may be kindred spirits, azita joon, bec i am making this tomorrow night with lamb :) my husband loves it. i like your addition of the rose water. x shayma

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  6. btw i know this may sound sacrilegious, but my grandmother taught the cook to make the split peas separately and add them in the end so by mistake, he does not overcook them. that's how i make it, too.

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  7. wow what a wonderful stew I adore your cooking

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  8. Shayma joon, That's a wise decision by your grandmother, since we don't want overcooked peas! I buy the peas from the Iranian grocery store, they have a special kind for ghaymeh that they call, "lapeh-e dir paz." I fry them so that they firm up a little and I buy fresh meat, never frozen, so they can cook faster. But your way is the most convenient and safest way.x

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  9. Warming stews like this are the best. I do hope you share more of them in the future. What gorgeous pictures! That bowl is so cute...love the shape.

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  10. Sounds like a wonderful specialty I would love to try! Yummy with fried potatoes!

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  11. fresh meat, i shall remember that one :) your photo is making me hungry it is only 11am here right now. have a LOVELY weekend, Azita Joon :)

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  12. Yum....this stew is my families favorite. Love your recipes I have tried a few of them and they are delicious, and the presentation and photography makes me want to cook. I hope you know I'm a big fan.
    Thank you for sharing
    Firoozeh

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  13. A wonderful dish! So flavorful and healthy! Great flavors.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  14. I love Persian stews like this one; I remember tasting it for the first time in L.A at some Persian friends and it was love at first bite!

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  15. Is it possible to make this dish without the dried lemons? No iranian groceries nearbye;(

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  16. Anonymous, Yes, it's possible to make this dish without the dried lemons. You can use lemon juice instead.

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  17. One of my favorites. Thank you for posting your version. Can't wait to try it.

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  18. I was wondering about the dried lemons. Are they similar to preserved lemons? Are they sold in jars, or some other packaging? And lastly, what is the flavor like (lemony obviously!), but I'm wondering if they add a noticeable sour note to the stew? I love sour flavors, so this is not a bad thing! Thanks.

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  19. Julie, Dried lemons/limes(limoo amani) are first boiled in salt water and then left to dry in the sun or dehydrated. They are sold in small packages in most Persian or Middle Eastern stores. They add a wonderful sour flavor to lamb/beef stews. If you like sour flavors give it a try you might like it! Thank you for visiting!

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  20. made this tonight - absolutelt loved it

    me - aussie girl
    hubby - chinese

    appeals to all tastes
    this is on our dinner party menu

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  21. julie - it wasn't sour at all, just a deep lemon flavour

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  22. Hello Azita,

    Thank you very much for this wonderful recipe! I have two quick questions, however. 1)How many does this recipe serve? and 2) If I use ground beef instead of stew meat, as my grandmother did back in Iran, should I use the same amount of beef(i.e. 2 lbs), more, or less?

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  23. Anonymous, this recipe serves 4-6. If using ground beef I would use 1 1/2 pounds of beef. Thank you for visiting.

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  24. Oh, I have just found your blog after searching for Khoresh recipes.

    My mouth is watering! My father is from Iran, but like you was educated in the west, in the UK. He married my English mum who did learn to cook Iranian food from my grandparents who would visit. Now I am grown and married and I live in Germany. I miss this food of my childhood. I will try and cook something from your blog regularly.

    Thank you! :)

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  25. I'm American married for 25+ years to an Iranian and have learned to make many Persian foods. I love Ghaymeh, more so than my husband. I prefer to add ground limon omani. I also like to use the PikNik shoestring potatoes as a topper (found in chip aisle)but nothing beats the homemade fried potatoes. Once in a while I also add a tablespoon or so of curry powder in addition to the turmeric. I've never tried adding rosewater to this but will and see how that goes over. Thank you for your site! It's great. The Shirini Kishmishi came out great. My Iranian sister-in-law loves them.

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    Replies
    1. I love khoresh ghaymeh too. Thank you for stopping by and your kind words.

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  26. I'm born here in Los Angeles but dad is persian... I LOVE persian culture and food. Going to make this dish soon. Thanks, yourwebsite is really nice!

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  27. I am curious what type of yellow split peas you use? Are they the typical yellow split pea or chana dal?
    Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. They are the typical yellow split peas.

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  28. Hi Azita,

    I want to make this dish for guests coming this weekend. I have Powdered Limu Amani but have run out of the regular type and won't have any access before the event. Do you think I can replace it for a decent result?

    Thanks,
    Brisa

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    Replies
    1. Brisa, limu amani could be used in a powdered form. You can use about 2 teaspoons of powdered lime instead.

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  29. thanks for the recipe! i don't know where to get dried limes- are there any substitutes or do i need to go hunting for them? also, when i made this (without the limes) it didn't come out nearly as red as yours, more of a sandy brown color. i strained the liquid out and boiled it down to a thicker consistency which helped a little but not too much

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    Replies
    1. You can find dried limes at most Persian/Iranian grocery stores and you may use lime juice instead of dried limes. I made some minor changes in the original recipe and I hope you'll find them useful.

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  30. yum yum ! My American bf wants to have it with pasta !! :P

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