Ash Reshteh: Festive Persian Soup Recipe

by | Mar 2024

ash reshteh, persian new years noodle soup


Although Chaharshanbeh Suri happens after dark (and after dinner), Iranian Americans often supplement the traditional snacks—nuts and dried fruits—with heartier fare for their celebrations. There’s Ash Reshteh, a traditional Persian noodle soup that features kashk (sundried yogurt or whey), and Lubia Polo, a rice dish with meat and green beans in a rich tomato sauce. Noruz, the new year celebration, dictates more specific foods that have symbolic significance. Right at the moment before the year turns—at 365 days, six hours and nine minutes—Persians eat a rice dish, Sabzi Polo ba Mahi, and a vegetable frittata, Kookoo Sabzi. After the new year has begun, a rice dish with noodles is served. “The length of the noodles represents one’s taking the reins on all matters of life in their own hands,” Edina resident Ghazaleh Dadres says.

Ash Reshteh

Adapted from Samin Nosrat

Makes about four quarts.

  • ¼ cup dried chickpeas
  • ¼ cup dried white beans, such as navy or cannellini
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 lbs. spinach
  • 1 lb. cilantro (about 3 large bunches)
  • 1 lb. Italian parsley (about 3 large bunches)
  • 2 large bunches dill
  • 1 large bunch chives
  • About 20 large fresh mint leaves
  • 6 Tbsp. plus ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, 1 finely chopped and 1 thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup dried green or brown lentils
  • ½ tsp. ground turmeric
  • 2 qt. chicken or beef stock (preferably homemade), or water
  • 1½ cups liquid kashk (Persian sun-dried yogurt or whey), plus ½ cup, for serving
  • 8 oz. reshteh (Persian soup noodles)
  • 1 Tbsp. dried mint

The night before, place chickpeas and white beans in a medium bowl. Add a generous pinch of salt and 2 cups water. Refrigerate overnight. Wash spinach, cilantro and parsley, then dry well with a salad spinner. Trim the woody ends, so only leaves and tender stems remain. Roughly chop the spinach and herbs into 1 inch-long pieces.

Set a large (at least 10-quart) pot over medium heat and add 4 Tbsp. oil. When the oil shimmers, add the chopped onion and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring regularly, until the onion is tender and golden brown. Add garlic, and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Drain the beans and add to the onion along with the lentils, turmeric and 1 tsp. pepper. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the chopped spinach and herbs, along with stock or water, and stir to combine. Partly cover the pot with a lid and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer the soup for 1 hour, stirring regularly. Add a cup or two of water to thin if needed.

Place 1½ cups kashk in a medium bowl. Add a ladle or two of hot soup and whisk to dissolve, then add the mixture to the pot. The kashk will change the color of the soup from bright to milky green. Bring to a boil, then break the noodles in half and add to the pot. Stir gently, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until noodles are soft and chewy and the beans are completely tender, about 30 minutes.

For the garnishes, set a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add 2 Tbsp. oil. When the oil shimmers, add sliced onion and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring regularly, until golden brown and caramelized, 16 to 18 minutes. Spread cooked onion onto a paper towel-lined plate to absorb excess oil; let cool. Wipe out the pan and return to medium heat. Add remaining ⅓ cup oil and warm gently over low heat, then stir in dried mint and remove from heat. Set mint oil aside and allow to steep for at least 5 minutes. Place remaining ½ cup kashk in a small bowl and thin out with a few tablespoons of water until it’s the texture of thin yogurt. Set aside.

The soup should be as thick as a hearty chili. If it’s any thicker, thin it with water, ½ cup at a time. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt as needed. To serve, ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle with reserved kashk and mint oil, then top with a sprinkling of golden onions.


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