Green almond is an unripe almond with a green fuzzy outer skin picked in early spring before the inner nut fully ripens and the outer shell becomes hard. Chaghaleh badoom is one of the favorite snacks in Iran which is traditionally eaten whole and dipped in a bit of salt. By early spring you will have to be on the lookout for them otherwise they will come and go in the blink of an eye since they have such a short season. I remember my mother reminiscing about picking soft-shelled almonds right off the tree branches on the skirts of kuh-e Alvand in Hamadan where she grew up.
It is really hard to find spring almonds where I live and I have yet to see them in any regular supermarkets or vegetable stores. I was so excited when I spotted green almonds at my local Persian grocery store. I could almost taste them just by looking at them. In addition to going through a bowl of tart and crunchy chaghale badoom you can slice them into salads or make an Iranian-style tangy herb and green almond stew with a bit of a crunch!
Khoresh Chaghaleh Badoom
1 pound stew meat (lamb or beef), cubed
1 pound green almonds, soaked in cool water for 6-8 hours or overnight, drain, use a paper towel to remove the fuzz (you may also slice the green almonds if you like)
3 cups chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1-2 tablespoons dried mint (for added aroma and flavor)
1 large onion finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Salt and pepper to taste
2-3 tablespoons lime juice, freshly squeezed (you may use verjuice instead)
- In a large pan, heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium-high heat and saute the chopped onions until soft and golden. Add the turmeric powder, stir well.
- Add the meat to the pan, stirring occasionally, cook until brown on all sides. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add 3 cups of water or enough to cover the beef. Bring back to boil, cover, reduce heat, simmer gently for 45 minutes.
- Add the green almonds, parsley, fresh mint, dried mint. Add a little water if needed. Cover and cook for another 45 minutes over low heat. Add in the lime juice and continue cooking on low heat for another 10-15 minutes.