New year noodle soup

New year noodle soup

Ash-e reshteh

Mark Roper

Thick with beans, pulses and fresh herbs, this soup feels full of enough healthy goodness to see you through an entire year. But the real point of it is the noodles. Any New Year is inevitably associated with new beginnings, and in Persia it is seen as a good time to take control of the ‘threads’ of your life and forge a fresh direction for the year ahead.

In traditional recipes for ash-e reshteh the herbs are added at the start of the cooking time. I’ve tweaked things a tad by adding them at the end, which preserves the vibrant green colour and makes for a fresher, albeit slightly less intense, flavour.

Liquid kashk is available in specialist Iranian stores.


Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 long red chilli, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
120g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained
2 litres good-quality chicken stock or vegetable stock
250g borlotti beans in the pod
100g brown lentils
sea salt
80g fresh thin egg noodles
250g spinach leaves, finely shredded
1/2 cup finely shredded coriander leaves
2 tablespoons chopped dill sprigs
1 lime, juiced


Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon olive oil
25g unsalted butter
1 large onion, thinly sliced
100ml liquid kashk or sour cream
50g shelled walnuts, finely chopped


  1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan or casserole dish over a low heat. Add the onion and chilli and fry for a few minutes until they soften. Add the spices and fry for another minute, then stir in the chickpeas and stock. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 40 minutes, or until the chickpeas are tender. If they are old, it may take a little longer.

    Pod the borlotti beans and add to the pan with the lentils and simmer for a further 30 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Once the pulses are cooked, season to taste with salt.

    Towards the end of the cooking time, prepare the garnish. Heat the oil and butter in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the onion for 8–10 minutes, or until golden and caramelised. Set aside until ready to serve

    Add the noodles to the soup and cook for 3–4 minutes until they are just al dente. Add the spinach to the pan in handfuls, mixing it into the soup as it wilts. Stir in the coriander and dill and add a big squeeze of lime juice. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking..

    Serve straight away, topped with a mound of caramelised onion, a dollop of kashk or sour cream and a sprinkling of walnuts.
Middle Eastern
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