Khoresh Rivas - Persian Rhubarb Stew

It's been a very hot summer so far, the kind where you don't feel like cooking and heating up the oven or turning on the stove. However, I was so excited to have finally found a bunch of fresh rhubarb stalks in a supermarket the other day that it no longer mattered how hot the weather was. I had to cook this savory dish. I adore rhubarbs for they are nutritious and very tasty. I loved rhubarb stew as a kid and I still enjoy its well-balanced tart and sweet taste, served over warm and aromatic rice. I cherished the opportunity to make this delicious sweet and sour lamb stew with fruity flavored rhubarb simmered to perfection in a green sauce filled with chopped parsley and mint. This is a delightful dish that will please your taste buds and is worth the time and the effort that goes into making it.

Rhubarb stew (khoresh rivas) is pretty much prepared the same way as celery stew (khoresh karafs). The main difference is that in celery stew you add lemon/lime juice to bring out the flavors and make it tastier whereas in preparing rhubarb stew there's no need to add more acidity to the dish. In order to balance the tart taste of rhubarb, sugar is added to a bring about a perfect sweet and sour consistency.

Khoresh Rivas - Persian Rhubarb Stew

Serves 4-6

8 stalks of rhubarb--washed, dried and cut into small bite-sized pieces
1 1/2 pounds of meat (lamb or beef), washed and cubed
1 large onion-- peeled, finely chopped
1 bunch of parsley-- remove the thick stems, wash and chop (makes about 2 cups, packed)
1 bunch of mint, leaves only, wash and chop (makes about 1 cup, packed)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Salt and pepper to taste
2-3 tablespoons sugar or to taste
Vegetable oil/olive oil

  1. In a pan, heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil and saute chopped onions until translucent. Add turmeric, stir, add the meat and brown on all sides. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour enough water to cover the meat. Cover and cook for an hour on medium to low heat.
  2.  In a medium-sized frying pan, saute the chopped parsley and mint together in 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat.Combine the parsley and mint mixture with the meat sauce half way through the cooking. Add water if necessary.
  3. Lightly saute sliced rhubarbs in 2 tablespoons of olive oil for 2-3 minutes on medium heat. Add the rhubarb to the pot, lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for an additional 15 minutes.
  4. Taste and add 2-3 tablespoons of sugar or to taste, gently stir and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
Serve warm with basmati rice.



  1. First time I came across a recipe where rhubarb wasn't made into a dessert, and I must say lamb and rhubarb looks really delicious.If you won't mind I'd love to guide Foodista readers to this post.Just add the foodista widget to the end of this post and it's all set, Thanks!

  2. I was just telling people about this recipe at my Persian cooking class last Tues at the Natural Gourmet Institute! Everyone was surprised that rhubarb is a traditional Persian ingredient. I've never made this dish, but you've made it look so accessible. I'll have to try it next time I see some rhubarb, and it's cool enough to turn on the stove. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I don't think I've ever had this khoresh, but I must remedy that soon. this dish sounds just so amazing. I love rhubarb and can only imagine how tasty this will be.

  4. I have nver had the chance to have rubarb :(, and first time seeing a savory recipe. I thought It was something used for sweet dishes

  5. Hi Azita, so pleased to find your blog! I had Persian food for the first time quite recently and am hungry for more - so many original ideas... For instance, I've never thought of rhubarb as a savoury ingredient before. Sadly the rhubarb in our garden is finished now but I will definitely try to make a vegan version of this stew next time I get my hands on some, with chick peas replacing the meat perhaps.

  6. Thank you ... thank you ... I love Persian food very much, actually my whole family love it too. I'll be making this. Bookmark :)

  7. wow so cool to see a savory rhubarb recipe

  8. Persian cuisine is on my top three favorites; I have never had this stew but I imagine that like all the others it is wonderful, with a good basmati.

  9. a favourite khoresht. i love it. hope you are having a lovely summer, despite the heat, Azita Joon. x shayma

  10. I love the photos of the rhubarb stalks! I've been on the hunt for savory rhubarb recipes and made this a few nights ago. My boyfriend and I enjoyed this khoresht quite a bit, neither of us have eaten much rhubarb, so we were surprised its sourness.

  11. Lamb and rhubarb sounds delicious. I too am used to the American sweet rhubarb recipes (strawberry rhubarb pie was a childhood favorite)
    I've seen it at the farmers market the last few weeks and I will definitely buy some now for this dish. I spent some time in Iran a few years back and this makes me long for a visit again.
    Thanks for posting!
    تشکر از شما!

  12. Anonymous, thanks so much for visiting and commenting!

  13. Azita, this recipe made a wonderful dinner last weekend. For meat I used the boned neck of an adult Scottish Blackface sheep. I cooked it for 20 minutes longer before adding the rhubarb and it came out wonderful, very tender and tasty.

    Thank you so much for your lovely collection of recipes. Greetings from Westphalia -- Thomas

    1. Thank you, Thomas! I'm so glad you liked the recipe. Best wishes,

  14. Very delicious dish, thank you for the recipe. The rhubarb came out very sour but I put some sodium bicarbonate into the khoresht to neutralize it a little so the taste was lovely.

    Best wishes, Lisa