Ghormeh Sabzi

Ghormeh sabzi is a Persian herb stew. It is a popular dish in current day Iran, Iraq, and Azerbaijan; traditional and very popular, served when family members return home after being away.

Ghormeh means stewed and sabzi literally means greens, which is herbs in English. The main ingredients are a variety of sauteed herbs, mainly spinach, parsley, spring onions, fresh coriander; seasoned with the key herb, dried fenugreek leaves (called shambalileh in Persian), which gives it the peculiar flavour.

They are cooked with beans (red kidney beans, rose cocoa beans, haricot beans, etc) onions and most importantly pierced dried ‘limu-omani’ (Persian sundried limes). I prepare my version as follows and it serves four hungry punters quite easily:

  • Fresh spinach 1 bunch or 1 medium size package/200 gm of frozen

    Dish made with herbs, beans and sundried limes

    Ghormeh Sabzi

  • Fresh parsley large bunch
  • Spring onions 1 bunch
  • Fresh Leek 1-2 (only the green stems)
  • Fresh fenugreek bunch, if not available replace with 2 tablespoons of dried fenugreek leaves
  • Two sun-dried limes (available in Middle Eastern shops) or juice of a fresh lime (less authentic flavour)
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced.
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil.
  • 1 cup of pre-soaked Rose coco beans, (Borlotti beans, Saluggia beans, Roman beans, Crab Eye Beans); alternatively you can use red kidney beans!
  • 1/2 tsp Salt and pepper to taste

Procedure

  1. Soak the beans 24 hours prior to preparation of the dish (minimum of over night)
  2. Chop the leeks, spring onions, spinach, dill, parsley and fenugreek fairly finely
  3. Sauté these in 2 tablespoons of oil in a non stick frying pan for about 5 minutes or until the water has dried, take the pan off and put it aside
  4. Using another pot, sauté the diced onions in 2 tablespoons of cooking oil until they are golden brown
  5. Add salt, pepper and turmeric and continue for a few more minutes.
  6. Add the beans now and switch heat to medium.
  7. Crush the sun-dried limes and add them to the mixture.
  8. Add approximately two cups of boiling water and with the lid on, boil for an additional 15 minutes.
  9. Now add the fried vegetables into the mixture and simmer on medium/low heat for 45 min to an hour, stirringly occasionally.
  10. Add the lime juice, blend and serve over pollo.  Alternatively eat with Naan-e-Barbarri or Lavaash.

Nosh-e-Jan

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8 Responses to Ghormeh Sabzi

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  2. Betsy Stevens, Coventry, RI, USA says:

    Hello there,
    As Spring (Norooz) is here I am always in the mood to make some of my husbands favorite recipes.
    He LOVED Gormeh Sabzi, and I use a recipe from a cookbook he bought me when we were to be
    married in 1988. I found the recipes wonderful and the stories in the book very educational, informative and especially heart warmingly funny. So in looking your recipe up, I notice you use spinach in the list of ingredients (yeay we love this in any soup/stew) and some dill (which was in the notes but not the list.) I have tried these additions and I must say, it was quite nice, a little different, but we are trying to get my daughters to like some more of his favorite (healthy) recipes, and this combination made it less intense (the limou is my item to ban because of tartness.)
    So thank you for your posting of this recipe, my husband would whole heartedly approve!
    Sincerely,
    Betsy Stevens

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  4. Linden says:

    Hi in procedure you say add Dill but you did not list in ingredients? Error?

    • Old Hall Persian says:

      Thank you so much for your comment! Yes, I did and it is optional. If you would like to omit, it will not make a vast difference to your end product!

  5. Faye says:

    IF YOU WANT TO MAKE THIS BUT DON’T HAVE ALL THE INGREDIENTS or DON’T LIKE FENUGREEK PLEASE READ THIS COMMENT.

    Thanks for posting this recipe! I enjoy eating Gormeh Sabzi and I appreciate the technique that keeps the greens from being overcooked.

    I have been practicing Persian/Armenian cooking for the past 1 3/4 yrs, living with an Armenian Iranian. He generally likes what I do. He does not care for fenugreek, and while I love the stuff, I’ve been looking for a substitution for Gormeh Sabzi, which still enhances the flavor, so I can make it for him, too, and a substitute for dried limes, because they’re expensive in the U.S. (until I get my dehydrator…).

    -I found that powdered horseradish root rounds out the parsley and turmeric in a rather delightful way, adding a bit of the same bite as the fenugreek seed.

    -I also have added dried summer savory and oregano with pleasant results, as a substitute for the fenugreek leaves. For me, the taste of parsley gets rather strong when I use as much of the fresh herb as I like. The dried herbs balance that out nicely.

    -I like to pickle diced lemon rind in a salt brine, any time I juice lemons, to serve as a tangy relish. I added about a tablespoon of the lemon rind and about 3/4 cup of the brine to a pot following the above proportions in your recipe.

    I also have made this with kale, since I buy it more often than spinach and sometimes decide I want this dish on the spur of the moment (as I did, today) when figuring out what to do with soaked beans.

    I hope this comment is helpful to other aspiring Persian cuisine aficionados.

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