-Khoresh Karafs or Persian celery stew is a unique green dish in Persian cuisine due to its spectacular flavour of herbs. A combination of celery, herbs and lemon juice makes this food one of a kind. I am very fond of celery in every food, and I believe Khorsht Karafs exaggerates the incredible taste of celery.
The health benefits of celery are not hidden to anybody thus it is recommended to be part of our diet. After trying this recipe, I most certainly assure you that whenever you go shopping and feast to buy celery, Khoresh Karafs is the best thing that you can think of. If you are as same as me and in love with celery let’s try this.
About Khoresh Karafs
Khoresh Karafs word consists of two parts, first Khoresh which translates to stew and Karafs that is celery. Persian cuisine includes a wide variety of stews like Fesenjan, Gheymeh, … and they are kind of signature of Persian cuisine.
Khoresh traditionally is served with Persian rice or Chelow. The stew itself looks like a bowl of soup though it is usually slow-cooked, or in case of celery stew also the flour is added, which makes them a very thick soup. Chelow is a Persian way of cooking rice and you can find the detailed instruction on our blog. You should try a spoon of Chelo with Persian stew on top and become in-love with Persian cuisine.
Khoresh Karafs as a veggie dish
Persian celery stew is enriched with the great taste of celery along with the herbs. It is usual to serve celery stew as a veggie dish in restaurants, but the traditional recipe of Khoresh Karafs has meat. However, meat is completely optional as the taste and flavour of Khoresh Karafs are built form celery and herbs. You may also replace it with plant-based meat or tofu.
Khoresh Karafs recipe ingredients (SERVES 4-6)
- 1 large celery stalk, sliced into half a moon pieces and keep leaves with herbs
- 200g or a handful of fresh parsley stems removed and chopped
- 50g dried/fresh mint (chopped)
- 500g boneless lamb/beef*, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1.5 tbsp flour
- 1.5 tbsp tomato paste*
- 2 tbsp lemon juice*
- 3 cups of boiling water
- salt and pepper to taste
How to cook Persian celery stew
You may do the following steps in advance.
Wash Celery carefully, separate the leaves and stalks. Cut the stalks into half an inch half-moon shaped pieces.
Also wash the herbs including mint, parsley, and celery leaves thoroughly and chop them finely.
- ☛ It is very helpful if you use a sharp knife and bunch herbs in your hand and cut them from the other end little by little.
- ☛ You may use dried herbs instead of fresh ones. Moreover, for choosing celery look for the ones which are more crispy and have young light green leaves inside.
Dice the onions into small pieces, add 1 tbsp of oil to a pan and sauté onions until they become translucent. Then add turmeric to the pan and stir well.
Add the meats which are cut into cubes to the pan and sauté for a couple of minutes with the onions.
- ☛ If you want to skip meat follow and make this food a healthy veggie one, skip this step. But keep last same step and saute the onion with spices without meat.
Afterwards, add boiling water and close the lid and let it simmer over low heat for 45 min.
- ☛ You can use a pressure cooker for cooking the meat to cut the cooking time to half. Or, if you are cooking veggie khorsht Karafs you don’t need to simmer it.
Add sliced celeries to another pan with 2tbsp of oil. Fry them over medium heat slowly until celery pieces become soft.
After the celery slices become soft, fry the chopped herbs ( parsley, mint and celery leaves) together with celeries in the same pan for a couple of minutes.
Saute them for a short time as if you fry herbs until they become blackish, the will taste bitter and will make the taste of stew not pleasant.
- ☛ To keep the stew green and healthy avoid frying vegetables too much or for a long time.
Take the herbs and celeries out and mix them with simmered meat after meat cubes are soft and well cooked.
Add more boiling water and let the combination get to the boiling point. Then lower the heat and let it simmer for more time.
- ☛ I recommend not to close the lid anymore while cooking to keep the vegetable light green and stew colourful.
- ☛ I always like to add the great, magic Persian spice which is Saffron to simmer with the stew. Saffron adds more fragrance to the stew also reminds me of my grandma’s kitchen.
In par, add the rest of vegetable oil and wait until it becomes hot then add the flour. Stir fast until it becomes like a paste. Continue for a very short time or until you can smell the flour. Then start little adding boiling water little by little to have a thick combination.
- ☛ You may skip this step if you don’t feel it. However, I recommend doing it as this step helps the stew water to become thick.
Add the flour combination to stew.
You may add the tomato paste at this step for more colour and taste.
Taste stew for salt and pepper.
Let it simmer for 20 min or until the celeries are well cooked.
- ☛ The key point in cooking delicious stew is to simmer it at the end, over low heat for a long time. In Persian word it lets the stew to become “Ja oftade”, which means a slow-cooked thick stew. However, I recommend not to simmer for a very long time to have light green stew enjoy healthier food.
Last but not least add lemon juice before taking the stew off the heat.
- ☛ Before adding lemon juice taste the stew and if you like add as much as you desire. Adding lemon juice depends on how you like it to tase. Some people add lemon juice and some don’t, it is your choice.
Serve the Khorsht Karafs with rice or Persian Chelow. Bon Appétit!
Khorsh Karafs | Persian Celery Stew
- 1 stalk Celery
- 200 g Parsley
- 50 g Mint
- 500 g Boneless Lamb/Beef
- 1 Onion large
- 3 tbsp Vegetable oil
- 1.5 tbsp Flour
- 1.5 tbsp Tomato paste optional
- Lemon Juice to taste
- 1 tsp Turmeric
- 4 cups Boiled water
- Dice the onions into small pieces, add 1 tbsp of oil to a pan and sauté onions until they become translucent. Add turmeric to the pan and stir well.
- Add the meats which are cut into cubes to the pan and sauté for a couple of minutes with the onions. Then add boiling water and close the lid and let it simmer for 45 min.
- In another pan add sliced celeries to a pan with 2tbsp of oil and fry them until they celery pieces become soft.
- Add washed, chopped herbs to celery in the pan and fry them together for a couple of minutes.
- Mix sautéed celeries, herbs to cooked meat. Add more boiled water if needed.
- In par, add the rest of vegetable oil and wait until it becomes hot then and the flour. Stir fast until it becomes like a paste. Continue stirring for a very short time until you can smell the flour smell. Then add a little boiling water slowly.
- Add flour combination to stew.
- Optionally add tomato paste
- Taste for salt and pepper and let them simmer for 20min.
- At last taste for lemon juice.
- Serve the Khorsht Karafs with rice or Persian Chelow.