Khorsh-e Beh is the most famous dish in Persian cuisine among the recipes for stews with fruit. Persian quince stew, so-called Khoresh-e Beh, always reminds me of family dinners on cold days of autumn. The experience of Khoresh-e Beh with the great taste of soft-cooked quince in the mouth is unforgettable.
Everything about this dish comes from the magnificent aroma of quince. Beh, the Persian word for quince, is the authentic fruit of north Persia. Thus, it has a significant place in Persian cuisine whether as Khorsh-Beh or elegant quince jam.
You may have not heard of quince or seen a bright, golden-yellow pear-shaped fruit. Quince is native to western Asia, Greece and the north of Iran which used to be northern Persia. The fruit is like big pear, but the flesh is harder and strongly perfumed.
Quince changes colour from green to yellow when it matures near late autumn. It provides a moderate amount of vitamin C along with dietary benefits that you’ll want to add to your next healthy grocery shopping. However, be cautious that fresh quince is not farmed every season thus it wouldn’t be available for shopping the whole year. Although, they stay very well if you freeze slices and use them later.
What is Khoresh Beh?
Throughout the history cooked quince has been used as food widely in Persia because of its aroma and special fragrance. However, it has found its way into western cuisine over time as it has become more convenient to find it.
I live in Canada and I see in my everyday life that most of the big grocery stores sell quince sometime around December to March. In Iran, Quince or so-called Beh is so popular that it is farmed widely and lasts longer from early autumn to early spring, therefore Khoresh-e-Beh is considered as late autumn, early winter dish.
Vegetarian Khoresh-e Beh – Persian quince stew
Clearly the taste of this stew mainly comes from the quince and meat is just protein of the dish. There is a good replacement for meat and it would be dried plums. Dried plums go very well with the taste of quince and make the stew spectacular.
Khorsh-e Beh Ingredients
- 1kg Quince chopped
- 2 Medium onions chopped fine
- 500g Boneless lamb cubes
- ½ tsp Saffron
- 2 tbsp Lemon juice
- 1-2 tbsp Sugar
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric
- 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 cups of boiling water
- Salt and Pepper
- *10 Dried plums soaked for 4 hours
- *100g Yellow split peas soaked for 4 hours
- *2 tbsp Pomegranate molasses
How to make Persian quince stew
When buying quince look for the ones that are more bright and yellow. Also, notice that you can keep quince for a couple of weeks in the fridge, so if you found this gem consider buying it for the future as it lasts long or could be easily frozen.
To prepare quince, using a sharp knife, peel off the quinces and then cut them into quarters. With a spoon take out the seeds and hard white part in the middle. One grandma note is to keep seeds because Quince Seeds is known as Persians’ remedy to sore throat and cough which will be so useful in autumn.
Carefully slice the quince but not too thin as it might be crushed in the stew while cooking. Add half the lemon juice to quince slices, it would help the fruit not go black like slices of pears.
Cooking Khorsh-e Beh
In a large pan over medium heat add vegetable oil and chopped onions. For a tasty stew it is important to sautee the onions very well until they become translucent and to some point crispy.
Take out the sauteed onions and add half of it to a pot over medium heat. Add the meat and Tumeric and fry them well all together.
Add 2 cups of boiling water, lower the heat and let it simmer for 45 minutes or until meat ready.
☛ If you want to add the yellow split peas saute them with meat before adding boiling water. Stir it well with the meat.
☛ Optionally add dried plums after 20 minutes to the meat and let it simmer with it.
In par, sautee the quince slices in the pan over medium heat. It is important that you let the slices of quince boil with half a cup of boiled water first. This will help slices to go soft and not burn when sauteed.
Then add the other half of already fried onions and sauteed quince slices with it. Be careful at this step as quince slices would burn fast. Stir them for 5 more minutes.
Add the sauteed quinces to the pot when meat is tender and done. Add the saffron to the pot and taste for salt. Let the stew simmer for 20 more minutes. Try not to overcook quince as it will become too soft and inseparable from meat broth.
At last, taste for lemon juice and sugar for a sweet-sour taste. Depending on the taste of quince the sweet taste of stew can be changed, so it depends on your own preference.
☛ You may add Pomegranate molasses to the stew when combining meat and quince for more taste.
Khoresh-e Beh | Persian quince stew
- 10 Dried plums soaked for 4 hours
- 100 g Yellow split peas soaked for 4 hours
- 2 tbsp Pomegranate molasses
- In a large pan over medium heat add vegetable oil and chopped onions. For tasty stew is so important to sautee the onions very well until they become translucent and to some point crispy.
- Take out the sauteed onions and add half of it to a pot over medium heat. Add the meat and Tumeric and fry them well all together. Add 2 cups of boiling water, lower the heat and let it simmer of 45 minutes or until meat ready.
- In par, in the pan over medium heat boil and then sautee the quince slices. It is so important that first let the slices of quince boil with half a cup of boiled water. Then add the other half of already fried onions and sauteed quince slices with it. Stir them for 5 more minutes.
- Add the sauteed quinces to the pot when meat is tender and done. Add the saffron to the pot and taste for salt. Let the stew simmer for 20 more minutes.
- At last, taste for lemon juice and sugar for a sweet-sour taste.