Asheh Reshteh is a delicious hearty soup that is part of the Norouz menu. Reshteh in Farsi means noodles. This soup is made with Persian noodles which are flat, similar to fettuccine, but slightly less wide. The noodles in this soup symbolize good fortune and success in the path ahead.
Just like any other Persian Ash, it is best when this soup is allowed to rest before it is consumed. It is perfectly OK to make it the day before or give it at least a couple of hours of rest before it is served so that the flavors better come together.
Some opt to use canned chickpeas and red beans for this soup. I have done this before to save time. However, I have discovered that cooking the beans from scratch makes a huge difference taste wise.
Asheh Reshteh is always a winner for the vegetarians and vegans that attend our Norouz gathering. Of course, the latter group will have the soup without the whey!
2 large onions, sliced thinly length wise
6-8 cloves of garlic, minced
1/3 cup chickpeas
1/3 cup red beans
1/2 cup lentils
2 tsp turmeric
3 cups fresh parsley (packed – equivalent to 1 1/2 bunch)
2 cups fresh cilantro (packed – equivalent to 1 bunch)
2 cups fresh mint (packed – equivalent to 1 bunch)
20 springs of fresh chives or scallions ( green portion of scallions only)
1 1/2 lb baby spinach
2 oz reshteh
1 tbsp flour
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp dried mint
kashk, whey ( sour cream can be substituted for kashk)
Soak beans for a few hours in water.
Sauté onion and garlic until translucent. Add chickpeas, red beans, and turmeric. Sauté for a few minutes together.
Add 8 cups of water. Season with salt, cover and cook for one hour.
In the mean time rough chop all the herbs.
Add lentils and herbs to pot. Cover and cook for another 1/2 hour on low. Stir the pot every so often during the cooking process.
Break off reshteh into three sections and add to the pot.
Add spinach. You will need to add half of it first and allow for the first batch to wilt, then add a second batch. Cook covered for another 1/2 hour. Make sure to stir the pot every so often.
Place flour in a small bowl. Take 3 tablespoons of the liquid from the soup and add to the flour.
Mix well until there are no lumps. When adding flour to soups it is always a good idea to use this technique to ensure that there are no lumps in the soup.
Add water and flour to the soup. Adjust seasoning by adding salt. Cook for 1/2 hour longer on low. At this point your soup is ready as the beans should be cooked. You can further cook the soup to deepen the flavors, however, it must be on very low temperature, since this soup is very thick, chances are the bottom will stick.
For the garnish fry onions in oil. I have found that vegetable oil works best and the chances of burning the onions is much less. Once the onion turns translucent, lower the heat and allow for the onions to slowly caramelize.
Once they have tuned into a golden color add dry mint and allow for the onions to crisp up. This takes about an hour from start to finish. It is best to prepare the garnish while cooking the soup.
Place soup in a bowl, add a pinch of fried onion to the center along with a dollop of kashk.