Ash-e anar, split pea and pomegranate soup (Persia)

Persian (or Iranian) dishes often feature fruits, either fresh and dried, spices and herbs, which suits me great. I’m a big fan of pomegranate, so ash-e anar found its way to my browser’s bookmarks as soon as I first heard about it. It is a split pea soup with herbs and pomegranate molasses (or juice).

Usually the dish features lamb meatballs cooked in the soup, but I figured it would be a tasty and protein-rich meal even without them. However, feel free to add some homemade or store-bought vegan “meatballs”.

This recipe is a kind of a mashup of recipes I found from Tigers & Strawberries, Habeas Brulee and a third recipe. This recipe makes about 4-5 portions – more if you add the “meatballs”.

Originally I used about 1 dl/0.4 cup of pomegranate molasses, but even for a hardcore pomegranate molasses lover it was a bit much, so I’ve reduced it in this recipe. You could use a few cups of pomegranate juice instead, but then you may have to add a little sugar and lemon juice, and adjust the amount of water/broth.

I didn’t have any fresh herbs on hand, so I used dried ones. Chopped fresh herbs would obviously make it even better. You could also add fresh cilantro.

Ash e-anar

Ash-e anar, Persian split pea and pomegranate soup

2 onions
5 garlic cloves
1 tbsp oil
2 dl/0.8 cups dried yellow split peas
1.5 l/6 cups water or vegetable broth
1-2 tsp salt
0.25 tsp black pepper
0.25 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp turmeric
0.6 dl/0.25 cups dried parsley
3 tbsp dried mint
1 dl/0.4 cups basmati or jasmine rice
0.6-0.8 dl/0.25-0.3 cups pomegranate molasses
1 tbsp sugar
Some fresh pomegranate seeds

Chop the onion and mince the garlic. Fry the onion for several minutes, add the garlic and fry for a few more minutes. Add the split peas and stir-fry for about two more minutes.

Add the water or broth and the herbs and spices (except for fresh herbs, if using) and bring to boil. Lower the heat and let simmer for about 50 minutes.

Add the rest of the ingredients (except for fresh herbs, if using) and simmer for about 30 minutes more, or until the yellow split peas are very soft. If using fresh herbs, add them in the last 5-10 minutes of cooking. Serve hot and sprinkle in some pomegranate seeds. They create wonderful bursts of flavour when eating the soup.

5 Responses to “Ash-e anar, split pea and pomegranate soup (Persia)”

  1. 1

    Pomegranate is such a beautiful and versatile fruit:-) And Persian kitchen is wonderful,I have been lucky to try it on several occasions. Your soup sounds really yummy!

  2. 2

    Nice, spicy soup. Where do you get your pomegranate molasses?

  3. 3

    I’m not entirely sure because I visit so many ethnic food stores, but I think I bought it from the Middle Eastern grocery store at the Hakaniemi subway station in Helsinki. I believe all Middle Eastern groceries should have it.

  4. 4

    For as many times and ways I’ve been eating pomegranates, I never considered adding the arils to soup. What a creative idea!

  5. […] used in a variety of dishes, as well as the molasses and juice…. From starters to stews, from soups to rice and side-dish, the Persian cuisine uses pomegranate in all the possible […]

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