Khoresht e Karafs (Persian Celery Stew)
I came to Sydney in 2008 to do my masters degree, where I was living until my recent relocation to Melbourne. I never considered myself much of a cook back home in Tehran, but living away from my native metropolis, I’ve found myself slaving away in the kitchen more often, reproducing my favourite Persian dishes- such as Khoresht e Karafs.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
500g lamb fillet, cut into 3cm cubes
1 large bunch celery
2 bunches mint
2 bunches parsley
4-5 dried limes*
1) Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat, add onion and fry until golden. Add lamb with one cup (250ml) of water and reduce heat to low.
2) Remove the leaves of the celery and chop them along with the mint and parsley. Cut the rest of the celery into 2cm-thick pieces. Add the herbs and celery pieces to a large frying pan and fry over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, and then add to the lamb. Add 3 cups (750ml) of water, close the lid and cook over a very low heat for one hour.
3) After about one hour, when all the herbs are cooked and darkened, use a knife or a fork to poke some holes in the dried limes, then add them to the stew (alternatively, you can add 2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook the stew for another 20 minutes.
4) When done, serve in a large bowl with steamed basmati rice**.
*Dried limes, also known as black limes, are found at Middle Eastern food stores or via Herbie’s Spices.
** Tip: you can dissolve 1/8 teaspoon saffron in 2 tablespoons of boiling water, then mix it with 4-5 spoonfuls of the steamed basmati rice. Layer the yellow saffron rice with the white basmati rice as decoration.
For more on Sahar’s story and Persian cuisine, see our feature story here