Moraba-ye Beh - Persian Quince Jam with Cardamom and Rose Water



Recently a reader left a comment on my blog asking for the quince jam recipe and that's when I decided to make this gorgeous colored, delicious and fragrant jam while quinces are still available in the market. Quince jam was part of the typical Persian sobhaneh (breakfast) back home in Iran and it included freshly baked warm bread (barbari, taftoon or sangak) right out of the tanoor, fresh brewed hot cup of chai (tea), sarshir (breakfast cream), panir (my fave, lighvan), butter and honey. Among many different kinds of jams, quince jam added color, flavor and aroma to our busy breakfast table. I suggest making a large batch since this is the kind of jam that you just want to eat right out of the jar. I wish I could say how long quince jam would last when refrigerated but past a 2-3 month time period I wouldn't know. It never lasts beyond that time in our fridge. It's truly amazing to see the transformation of this light yellowish colored, tart, firm and woody fruit into a sweet fruit jam that is a rich stunning shade of red, and soft enough to melt in your mouth.


This time of year, when quince is in season, it is the best time to make the hearty one-pot meal known as tas kabab with layers of sliced quinces or the fall recipe khoresh-e beh (quince stew).  Quince has a thin skin and there's usually no need to remove it, just rinse it well and with a sharp knife gently remove the core but don't throw away the seeds which are used for medicinal purposes. As I have mentioned before in one of my previous posts, a teaspoon of quince seeds mixed with a cup of hot water can help soothe a minor soar throat and chest pains. Nothing of this fruit goes to waste.






Moraba-ye Beh - Persian Quince Jam

Ingredients:
Makes about 4 pint jars 

7 medium sized quince, rinse well under water and pat dry, remove any brown spots and core, slice or cut into bite-size pieces
3 cups sugar (can be adjusted to your liking)
3-4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom or use 2-3 whole cardamom pods (I used green cardamom)
1 tablespoon rose water *optional
Water, 4 cups

Method:
  1.  Sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice over the quince slices.
  2. In a large heavy-bottom saucepan combine the sugar and water, bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, uncovered. Reduce the heat and boil for another ten minutes on medium-low heat or until it thickens a little bit. 
  3. Add the ground cardamom and quince slices to the sugar syrup, bring back to a boil on medium heat. Pour in the rest of the lemon juice and add a little more water if needed.
  4. Cover and simmer for about 2 hours on low heat. It is recommended not to remove the lid during the cooking to ensure that quince slices develop the desired rich ruby red color. You can wrap the lid in a clean kitchen towel. I didn't wrap the lid with any cloth and a few times I gently stirred the content.
  5. Add a tablespoon of rose water and simmer for another few minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and let cool.
  7. Ladle the jam into sterilized jars. Cover tightly and refrigerate.
Serve with butter, cheese, thick yogurt and/or as a topping with vanilla ice cream. 

Enjoy!

17 comments:

  1. Quince jam is one of those things from my childhood I haven't managed to recreate now that my Ammeh, who made it, isn't in the same city as me. I don't can, but I might have to try this.

    Any resources maybe online where one can buy quince jam?

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  2. مرسی آزیتای عزیز. حتما" این دستور را امتحان میکنم. یادمه که مرباهای به که مادرم درست میکرد قرمزتیره خوشرنگ میشد و مربایی که مادر بزرگم درست میکرد نارنجی فوق الهاده خوشرنگی بود. اما مرباهای به من همیشه رنگ دیگری دارند که چندان زیبا نیست.خیلی از دستورهای غذائی که می نویسید استفاده میکنم و نکات جدیدی را در خیلی از این دستورها یاد میگیرم. ممنون از زحمات شما. موفق باشید

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  3. Roxarita, thanks for stopping by and commenting. I don't know of any online stores that sell this kind of quince jam. You may want to try any Persian/Iranian or middle eastern grocery stores.

    ژیلا, mamnoonam aziz jaan! Merci az shoma keh inghadr lotf darid.

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  4. Perfect timing--quince season just began here. I am really enjoying your blog, especially anything vegetarian.

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  5. I had not seen before a persian cooking site as good as your site .... I enjoyed very much ... good luck ...

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  6. My mother-in-law taught me to make this moraba and I love it. Your recipe is a little different so I will try it this way this year.

    Roxarita, I've seen quince jam in Middle Eastern markets, but it's much better if you make it from scratch. You don't need to can it, just keep it in the fridge. If you're worried about it spoiling, don't make too much the first time. But I bet it will disappear very fast!

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  7. Oh, this is one of my favorite jams! So unappreciated here in the US. Beautiful!

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  8. Azita, just out of curiousity, what do you use for sarshir? Have you found it in stores? I tried mascarpone cheese and it tastes pretty similar.

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  9. Goli, you may be able to find sarshir tubs in some Iranian grocery stores. I think mascarpone cheese is the best substitute for sarshir too.

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  10. Just an added tip for some quinces that are from the Pacific Northwest. Often these quince will get mushy. One of my friends recommended covering the quince with sugar and letting them
    sit overnight in the fridge.
    Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

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    Replies
    1. I live in the south Willamette Valley. We have a quince tree that came from an aunts' garden. The fruit are beautiful and quite fragrant. I've made moraba ye beh every Autumn for many years now and have never gotten the gorgeous deep, dark maroon that I find in all the pictures. If I allow it to simmer for hours the fruit goes to mush. Oh, well. It's still pretty and very, very delicious. I enjoy this blog so much,....you really should put together a book.

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  11. Anonymous, thanks for the tip.

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  12. happy new year, Azita Joon. these photos are so pretty- it reminds me of the muraba my grandmother used to make w quince. hers was a smooth version; i love yours too- the way you have kept the quince chunky. really beautiful. x s

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  13. I made this recipe in December and it's become one of my favourite morning comfort food. I also gave a jar to a friend, and it reminded him of his childhood. Guess that's the best compliment anyone can receive ! Thank you !!

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  14. Hi Azita, great posts and beautiful pictures - do you take them yourself? I saw your recipe for pickled onions but I wondered if you had a good recipe for Torshi - as in the mixed veg accompaniment to meals? Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I take all the photos myself. Thank you!
      Here is the link to torshi makhloot (mixed vegetable torshi:
      http://turmericsaffron.blogspot.com/2009/03/vegetable-pickle-torshi-makhloot.html

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  15. Azita jan,

    My gradmother (also from Hamedan) used a copper pot for Quinse jam. The final color of the jam was amazing. A darker version of the color of your zoghal akhteh jam.

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