Sunday 27 February 2011

persian pomegranate soup

Ash-e Anār

I first heard of this Persian soup when a friend gave me the gorgeously designed 2006 Marsha Mehran novel called Pomegranate Soup.

Despite my lukewarm response to the book, I had an overwhelming urge to slurp down this sour, tangy soup rich with Middle Eastern flavours and aromas.

When I finally made it, I wasn’t disappointed. The pomegranates give it a sour, earthy flavour and the lamb adds intensity and richness.

This type of Iranian stew is thick and hearty with chunky ingredients. I highly recommend it.

Persian Pomegranate Soup (Ash-e Anar)

Anna’s adaptation of various bloggers' recipes. Serves 4.

1kg lamb, diced
2 onions, thinly diced
6 garlic cloves
½ cup yellow split peas
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Aleppo pepper
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
1 cinnamon stick
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
4 cups (1 litre) beef stock
2 cups (500ml) water
½ cup parsley & coriander tender stems, very finely chopped
¼ cup fresh mint, chopped
1 small beetroot, peeled & diced finely
¼ cup basmati rice
2 cups pomegranate juice*
¼ cup pomegranate molasses
1 cup green scallions, chopped
½ cup fresh coriander, chopped
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds for garnish
1 tablespoon fresh coriander, chopped for garnish
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped for garnish
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped for garnish

1. In a large pot, brown the lamb in batches and then set aside,

2. Next add in the onion and garlic cloves and cook until tender.

3. Add in split peas, salt, black pepper, turmeric, cinnamon stick and Aleppo pepper and stir for a minute.

4. Add stock and 2 cups water. Bring to the boil then reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

5. Stir in rice, mint, parsley and coriander stems and beetroot. Simmer, partially covered, for another 20 minutes.

6. Add the lamb and its juices, the pomegranate juice and pomegranate molasses. Simmer for 10 minutes.

7. Taste soup to balance out sweet and sour. Add more pomegranate juice (or lemon juice) to increase acidity or a little sugar for sweetness.

8. Add scallions (green parts), coriander, parsley and lemon zest and simmer for another 5 minutes until herbs have wilted slightly.

9. Ladle soup into serving bowls then garnish with pomegranate seeds and fresh herbs.

Note: *I managed to get around 2 cups from 3 very large and juicy pomegranates.

This recipe, with pomegranate as the theme ingredient, is my contribution to Weekend Herb Blogging hosted by Simona from Briciole.


  1. That looks and sounds delicious - the spices in the recipe are quite intriguing, a mix of the familiar Asian and the exotic (to me). Love how those pomegranate jewels glisten too - very inviting!

  2. thanks trina, it was a very flavoursome soup :)

  3. This looks really interesting. Quite a long list of ingredients! i'd like to try this.

  4. What an unusual recipe - I bet it tasted amazing. Definitely on my list of to-dos, I love lamb in soups.

  5. The list of ingredients is very interesting and includes some favorites, like Aleppo pepper. I must admit that I have never cooked with pomegranate juice and I am very curious. Thanks for contributing this lovely dish to WHB.

  6. This soup has a very intriguing combination of ingredients. I love things like that and have saved the recipe to try.

  7. One of the best things involving pomegranate (or anything else)I've ever had in my mouth was the Mexican Chles Rellenos de Picadillo, which is Poblano Chiles stuffed with slow simmered pork, raisins, pears and nuts, surrounded by a sauce of walnuts and milk, then topped off with pomegrante seeds. Looks like a dog's dinner, tastes like a dream. I first had it at Mexicali Rose in Melbourne, many many years ago before it changed hands, and it started a love affair with Mexican that saw me growing 80 chilli plants.

  8. Lamb and pomegranate is such a great combination. Though someone might have to hold me back from adding some yogurt to the top of it...

  9. I made this last night and really enjoyed it, check out my post today, Thanks so much for sharing the recipe.

  10. how wonderful, pomegranate in a soup, I wouldn't have thought so before reading your post.. but after seems perfectly sensible!


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