October 09, 2013

Khoresh Sib o Gheysi - Persian Apple Stew with Dried Apricot

Persian Apple Stew with Dried Apricot

It's October and to celebrate the arrival of autumn, the most delicious season, I've decided to make خورش سیب و قیسی - Persian apple stew with dried apricots. This is a vibrant and tasty khoresh - a stew that is made with beef, tart apples, tangy-sweet dried apricots, lime juice, and a warm flavor of cinnamon.

Fall is also the season for returning back to school, learning, and gaining knowledge. As someone who has been a Persian language instructor for several years, I'd like to say a few words to my dear, young Iranian parents out there. It's so important to teach your children the language of their heritage, to speak Persian at home as much as possible and to teach them the الفبا - alphabet. Learning a new language is not easy. It takes patience and persistence but it's well worth it.

This recipe can be made with lamb or chicken and other fruits such as sour cherries and plums. I used Granny Smith apples because they are firm, tart, juicy, and hold up well. You can use any type of apple as long as they are tart, firm, and good for cooking.

Those of who follow my blog regularly may have noticed that I seldom use ادویه - advieh, a Persian spice which is a mixture of many spices used both in stews and rice. Since this recipe requires a little bit of warm and earthy seasoning to enhance the flavor I made my own advieh but just enough for one dish only. The necessary ingredients for advieh with the exact measurements are listed below in the recipe.

Persian Apple Stew with Dried Apricot

Serves 4-6

2 pounds boneless stew beef, washed and cubed
5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, sliced
1 cup dried apricots
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 medium ripe tomato, diced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon crushed rose petals
1/3 teaspoon crushed cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves *optional
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil/vegetable oil

  1. In a large bowl combine the apple slices and lime juice. Set aside.
  2. In a large stewing pot, add 2-3 tablespoons of oil, on medium-high heat, add the chopped onions, stirring occasionally, saute until soft and golden brown. Add the turmeric powder, stir well and add the minced garlic. Saute for a couple of minutes. Don't leave the pot unattended, garlic burns quickly.
  3. Add the beef cubes and brown on all sides. Add the tomatoes, crushed rose petals, cardamom, and salt and pepper to taste. Add enough hot water to cover all ingredients by 2-3 inches. Bring back to a boil for five minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook for an hour or until meat is tender.
  4. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan, add the apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves until the apples are just golden, and soften a little. Add the flour, stirring well to blend.
  5. Add the apples, apricots, and sugar to the stew, cover, and cook for 15-20 minutes on low heat until the flavors come together. Add a little water if necessary and adjust the seasoning.
Serve warm in a bowl with rice, yogurt, and salad.

Cooper and the new kid on the block



  1. looks so delicious , as always - and the apple's bowls are so cute..

  2. Also, do you have a "pin it" option for Pinterest? Would love to save this recipe for a few uses!

  3. How much I say I love your blog, is not enough <3 <3 <3

  4. Hello, could you suggest an alternative that would be good instead of beef thats vegetarian? Thank you

    1. You can use tofu instead of meat.

    2. Steam tempeh, then brown in oil. Toss it in at the very last. But it just won't be the same without the meat flavoring.

    3. Made it this morning for tonights' dinner. I used a tabletop apple peeler for the first time,...what a time saver!
      I added sliced carrot for a little more flavor and colour. Seems to work well with the other ingredients.
      Thanks for yet another wonderful and unique stew recipe.

  5. I love so many things about this post. In no order: a peek at Cooper; the apple shaped serving dishes (so cute!), the awesomely beautiful and creative use of stringing dried apricots; your endorsement of the importance of teaching the Persian language to the kids born of an Iranian heritage; and last and certainly not at all least, the super yum looking stew!

  6. Hello!
    My children are of Iranian/American heritage (mom--me--is American). I am doing my best so that the kids and myself are learning to speak, read, and write in Farsi. It takes years I can tell you...especially if you have an English speaking household (my husband just could never do Farsi full time with them). Travel and making those family connections are the best way. As much as I think about it I am more and more convinced on how important it is to retain one's cultural heritage. It offers so much nourishment to the soul and body, the development of the intellect, good manners, social graces...it is all wrapped up in the language, customs, food, and culture. Regardless of your political or religious affiliations --this stuff transcends all of that and is the glue that holds a people together.

  7. Hey Khahar,
    Your blog is amazing. I am stoked because it's as if I have found a treasury of golden recipes! I am going to try and cook all of these foods. Yummm :)

  8. Hello again Khahar Azita,

    I actually cooked this food yesterday, which turned to be yummy and enjoyable. However my food had a big problem which is all apples got dissolved in the stew and disappeared! It also made the stew creamy and yellow! How do you cook the apple so that it does not get dissolved?

    I also did not put sugar in the stew but it was already sweet. Is sugar necessary?

    The other thing is that I felt one of the spices was over powering the taste of entire food. I could not tell what was it, maybe cardamon or nutmeg.

    1. Hello Ryan, you need to select firm apples for this stew, make thicker slices and try not to overcook them. You can omit the sugar and adjust spices to your liking.

  9. Wow, Beautiful recipe. Never made stew with apples before - this will be first! Such a good combination of apples, warm spices, beef and apricot. I am excited to cook this. So glad i found your blog. I am loving it:)

  10. Thank you for sharing the recipe. My family loved it! I will make it again.

  11. Delicious! I made this last night and it is SO good. Thank you for sharing this recipe

  12. there are so many great things about this post..the cat picture, the apricot poem, the apple-shaped dishes, and the delicious-looking food

  13. My first time making it and it was amazing. Easily one of my favorite stews now. Thank you for the detailed, logical and easy to follow recipe. I know there are more Persian stews that use fruit, can you please include more of those recipes as well?