Persian Noodle and Bean Soup-- Aash-E Reshteh
This thick soup of herbs, greens, legumes, grains, and noodles is cooked in a fried onion based liquid. It is customarily served as a starter before the actual meal is served. To serve, the soup is topped fried onions with turmeric, lightly fried garlic, and fried mint.
- 1/4 cup dried black beans
- 1/4 cup dried garbanzo beans
- 1/4 cup dried lentils
- 1/4 cup brown basmati rice
- 1/4 cup dried pinto bean
- 1/4 cup dried white bean
- 1/4 cup pearl barley
- 1/4 cup dried red beans
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1 bunch parsley (stems removed and discarded)
- 12 ounces baby spinach leaves
- 4 ounces beet leaves
- 2 bunches scallions (green parts only)
- 1/2 cup fresh dill
- 2 onions
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 8 ounces chow mein noodles
Combine dried beans and grains in a large bowl, add water to cover, and let soak for 8 hours.
Wash greens and herbs well. The best way to do this is to soak in cool water and swish leaves around. Let sit for a couple minutes and lift out into a colander and rinse with water. Repeat a couple more times to remove any dirt. Allow to dry well. Chop all in batches in food processor and set aside.
After 8 hours, pour off water from beans and grains. Transfer beans and grains to a large pot and add water to cover by two inches. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, skim off all the foam possible.
Once the beans begin to soften, add garlic and ginger. Season with a couple teaspoons of salt. Once the beans are halfway cooked, add green and herbs. Season with pepper. Prepare onions.
Cut onions in half once lengthwise and once crosswise to form quarters. Thinly slice into short slivers. Heat oil in a large skillet and fry onions until golden. Strain onions to remove excess oil. Set aside a couple tablespoons for serving.
Add remaining onion to pot with beans and greens. If liquid in the pot is running low, add boiling water to keep the mixture loose. Ideally, the water will be two inches higher than the beans in the pot. Simmer beans and greens mixture for 20 minutes.
Add noddles to pot and simmer 30 minutes until all ingredients are cooked through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add boiling water if mixture is too thick. The soup should be rather thick, but it should remain pourable.
To serve, top with fresh or dried mint fried in olive oil, minced garlic fried in olive oil (do not let it gain color or it will be bitter), and fried onions.