Dizi - Traditional Iranian Lamb Chickpea Soup



Dizi (دیزی), a popular highlight of Persian cuisine, is traditionally cooked in a small stone crock pot or a metal cooking pot. The history of abgoosht goes back hundreds of years ago when it was only made with lamb and chickpeas. However, with the introduction of the new world foods into Iranian cookery and the addition of new ingredients such as potatoes and tomatoes, this modest meat and chickpea soup became a more substantial and tastier meal. Preparing food in a clay/stone cookware is one of the ancient methods of cooking where the clay pot is placed over an indirect heat or slow fire for several hours until all ingredients are fully cooked. Dizi is one of the foods that's usually bought from a dizi specialty store due to its long cooking process and the need for a very hot stove. In today's modern kitchens, the clay pot is mostly used as a serving dish rather than cookware. This slow-cooked, simple and down-to-earth meal, which is also known as abgousht/abgoosht, satisfies the hunger, nourishes the body and leaves one feeling gratified.



Dizi is divided and served in two parts. The strained broth is placed in a large bowl or individual bowls and served. The remaining ingredients, lamb, potatoes, tomatoes, chickpeas and the beans are all mashed up together using a goosht-koob (meat masher) and served on the side with raw onions, torshi (pickles),  sabzi khordan (fresh herbs) and plain yogurt. Noon sangak is an excellent choice of bread for this dish with its unique flavor and the unusual baking process of laying the prepared dough on the hot pebbles in the tanoor (tandoor) which I think makes it into the most interesting looking bread!


Savoring dizi is a dining experience of togetherness, bonding and sharing. Whether you are sitting crossed-leg on the floor wearing your comfortable clothing around the sofreh (table cloth) or sitting at the dinner table wearing designer clothing you'll enjoy the tasty blend of flavors as well as the conversations and memories. Every time I make abgoosht I remember the scene form Ganj-e Gharoon, an old Iranian movie that's forever etched in my mind. It's the scene where Fardin and Zohouri are mashing the meat, tapping the marrow out of the bone, pounding the raw onion by hand and eating abgoosht all the while singing and teasing Arman!


There are many different types of abgoushts. I have written a blog post about abgousht in the past and that's the recipe I cherish and use since it was my mother's recipe. This version is slightly different.



Dizi - Iranian Lamb Chickpea Soup

Ingredients:
Serves 4-6

3 lamb shanks (about 3 pounds)
1 cup chickpeas, rinsed, soaked overnight
1 cup white beans, rinsed, soaked overnight
2 large onions, peeled, quartered
4 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and cut in half
3 medium-sized tomatoes, peeled and cut in half
3 whole limoo amani (dried lemons) found in Persian grocery stores
1/2 tablespoon turmeric
A pinch of cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Water

Method:
  1. In a large soup pot place the lamb shanks, add eight cups of water and bring to a boil on high heat. Skim the foam as they come to the surface in the beginning.
  2. Add the turmeric, cinnamon, limoo amani, onions, chickpeas, beans, salt and pepper.  Cover and cook on medium heat for about an hour.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a small skillet and lightly saute the tomato paste to lose its raw taste.
  4. Add the sauteed tomato paste, tomatoes and the potatoes to the pot, cover and continue cooking for another hour.
  5. When all the ingredients are fully cooked, taste and adjust the seasoning. Remove the pot from the heat. Drain the soup through a sieve, remove the bones and mash the remaining ingredients using a masher.
To serve, ladle the broth into a large serving bowl and spoon the meat and potato mixture onto a serving platter. Serve with warm bread, pickles, yogurt and fresh herbs.


Enjoy!

29 comments:

  1. My sister in law made this for me a while back and it was absolutely delicious! Thank you for the recipe ... I will definitely try to make it on my own this weekend and surprise my husband :)
    Lisa

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  2. My husband doesn't like lamb. Can I make it with beef?

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  3. I can't believe you made this - this is unbelievably awesome! Such a lovely job of it. I'm only super jealous that I didn't taste it for myself. Dastet dard nakoneh!!

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  4. Azita, this sounds delicious... I love how you serve it too.

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  5. I really enjoy your blog. The recipes, stories and the pictures. Very nice photographs!! What kind of camera is used in taking the photographs? And who takes them??

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    1. Thank you! All pictures are taken by me and I have been using Canon EOS Rebel T3i for a while.

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  6. Azita Joon, This is one of my most favourite Persian dishes - it was lovely to see a post about it. Your photos are looking beautiful. x s

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  7. Thank you for posting this, Azita khanum. I love that movie too and so I enjoy the reference.
    My baba would make aabgusht in the poshtebaan sometimes to avoid having the smell in our home - it was a good tip and it was tasty having it slow cooked.

    Merci

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  8. Long-time reader, first time commentor - your blog is so beautiful. I am Persian and am so happy to see you have such an amazing collection of recipes. Keep up the great work - I've shared this blog with my mom, grandma, and aunts who were so happy and surprised to see a persian food blog. Thanks for your dedication :)

    Mahtab

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    1. Thank you so much Mahtab jan. Merci aziz!

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  9. I was wondering if you had any recipes for whole wheat sangak bread??

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  10. Awesome post in a very good blog...My mouth is already watering just from looking at the pictures and reading the recipe....can't wait to try this recipe... I think if never tried a Persian recipe and I think looking at this I definitely won't be disappointed. If you also have a delicious looking picture of a dish but the recipe is not in your language make sure that the translation is done by a professional translator to get the best result when you are cooking the dish.

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  11. Looks wonderful! I'm a little confused about the pictures, maybe you can help explain? Is the picture of the red colored stew in the green crock and the white bowl, the stew before you separate the broth out? And then the pictures with the metal bowls, one with the broth with bread broken up in it, and then in the other metal bowl with the masher, the meat, beans & veggies mashed together? Do people sometimes eat it not separated, like in the last picture with the white bowl?
    Thank you for helping me understand how to serve this. :)

    -Jen xo

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    1. Jen, these photos are of abgousht/dizi before and after being separated and served in different serving bowls. The traditional way is to separate them and mash the meat and potatoes. The soup is then served in a bowl (ceramic or metal)with pieces of bread mixed in or served on the side. You can also serve it in a dizi (crock), as pictured above. What you see in the last picture is the soup that's not fully separated. I like to serve the soup part with some potatoes and tomatoes mixed in.

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  12. Thank you, that makes sense to me now. :) Looks like a lovely meal, and I look forward to trying it! Thank you for taking the time to explain the Farsi words, too!
    -Jen

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  13. I made this for my family last night, and my husband raved about how good it was! I have wanted to cook more Persian dishes for years, and your blog has finally gotten me doing it, with wonderful results. Your photos are so beautiful, they make me want to cook, and your instructions are so clear and easy to follow. Your blog brings me warm memories and many smiles. Thank you!

    I must admit to some shortcuts & a few improvisations. I basically dumped all the ingredients in the crockpot...didn't peel potatoes or tomatoes (because it's supposed be more nutritious and it's easier.) I didn't sauté the tomato paste, because I figured it would cook long enough in the crockpot. I'm probably ruining the dishes to more discerning palettes, but we aren't sophisticated enough to know the difference. ;) I halved the recipe, and cut the liquid down to 2 1/2 cups since it was in the crockpot. I used canned chick peas, and I did add the liquid from the can, too. I used a whole can, because I didn't want to waste any, and so I stuck with just the chick peas and left out the white beans. I also used a heaping teaspoon of cinnamon, 2 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. black pepper, and 1 tsp. turmeric (remember, this was for a half-sized recipe.)

    I served the mash with yogurt mixed with mint, some yummy flat bread, and *pomegranate syrup* drizzled on top of the mash. Unconventional, maybe, but it was really tasty together! My hubby said it was the combination of everything together that made it so amazingly good to him.

    I showed my family your blog, and read to them what you had written about this dish. :) It's so nice to get to share things like this with them. Thank you again!

    -Jen

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    1. Dear Jen, I am so glad you you and your family enjoyed this recipe! Thank you very much for visiting my blog and commenting.

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  14. Abgoushd is one of my all time favorite dishes, especially in the winter. Looking at these pics make my mouth water. How long would it take in a crackpot and for how many hours. I have guests tomorrow and would love to make it.

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    1. Ninely, It will probably take about 6-8 hours to cook.

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  15. if you add the limo amani so early on in the cooking doesnt it make it bitter?

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    1. Karen, keeping the dried limes whole (piercing them in a few places) until they are fully cooked doesn't make the stew bitter. Limoo amani brings out the flavor in the lamb stew and makes it more tasty.

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  16. Are the limoo amani to be mashed with the rest of the ingredients once the cooking is over, or must they be removed prior? I've never used this ingredient before, and am making this recipe for the first time.

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    1. Yes, you can mash all the ingredients together.

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