Aash Shalgham is a Persian turnip soup is known and loved as the best cold remedy in Iran’s cold winter months. Shalgham is turnip and Aash is what Persians call a thick and hearty soup. There are many varieties of Aash in the Persian cuisine with complex flavors and usually numerous ingredients that make them wholesome and wonderful, and Persians love their aash. This recipe can be suitable for a vegetarian diet by using vegetable stock instead of the chicken stock and will fit a vegan menu by leaving out the yogurt.
I can honestly say that I love just about all the varieties of aash because it is put together easily with fresh and healthy ingredients and it warms you up inside like nothing else can. I normally serve aash with some bread and it is a perfectly satisfying meal by itself. I always find it so funny when some people refuse to consider soup or aash a main meal and think of it only as a starter. You might have heard the saying, “whoever has invented aash (soup) as a main course has no idea what hungry means!” I bet they were not talking about Aash Shalgham! It is delicious and hearty and a perfect comfort food that is incredibly good for you.
I am always eager to experiment and come up with good recipes, this is one such recipe that I am very pleased with. Aash Shalgham tastes wonderful and takes only about an hour from start to finish, so the vegetables and legumes keep their bright colors, flavor and shape. It feels good to come up with a recipe that is loaded with super foods. I have used two root vegetables in this aash, turnips and carrots. I have also used the very healthy and colorful stems and leaves of beet roots that are high in iron and magnesium. Similar to most Persian Aash recipes this recipe has some herbs, but not too much; here the herbs are mostly for some added flavor without overpowering the taste of other ingredients. I have added grains and legumes for their iron and fiber as well as their natural starch that is perfect for thickening this soup.
Shalgham, or turnips are grown worldwide and are known for being very nutrient rich and a great source of vitamin C. This is the main reason this turnip aash is made for this time of year. It boosts the immune system against all the cold that goes around in winter and some believe that it also helps the lingering cold related coughs. Turnip has white flesh and mostly white skin except for the very top that is light purple in color. Avoid buying large turnips because they are not as tender and depending on the size they might even get woody. I usually get turnips that are about 3 inches in diameter with a tender flesh. There is another root vegetable closely related to turnip and that is Rutabaga which can easily be mistaken for turnip, but that is not an issue in this recipe, in fact I have used Rutabaga in this recipe before and it is just as delicious. These two root vegetables taste very similar, with Rutabaga being a tad sweeter (slightly higher carbohydrates than turnips) and a yellowish flesh. Besides all the great health benefits both these vegetables are very low in calories and this makes them a great addition to any healthy diet.
When buying turnips select medium ones that are very firm with smooth skin and no soft spots. I have also used beet stems and greens for all their goodness not to mention the brilliant red color that makes this aash very colorful. I have the easy instructions for home cooked beans here but if you wish you may use canned garbanzo beans and red beans but rinse them first to get rid of some of the sodium. Get all your prep done and set them aside. You will need 1 cup of thinly sliced garlic chives (Persian tareh, or green parts of the scallions). Coarsely chop half a cup each of fresh parsley and cilantro.
Two medium carrots and 3 medium turnips are peeled. Carrots are sliced thin and the turnips are cubed to about 3/4 inch. Don’t dice the turnips too small, after all you want to see the shalgham in the Aash Shalgham! Besides, it taste wonderful when you bite into one.
Add the rice and bulgur to a nonstick 6-Qt stockpot. Wash under cold water and drain. Add 3 cups cold water and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Cook over medium low heat without covering it until rice and bulgur are tender and most of the water is cooked off.
Add the chicken stock (or vegetable stock) and stir in one tablespoon of tomato paste. Add freshly cracked pepper and ground cayenne (leave them out if you are preparing this aash for someone with a cold and cough). Next add the herbs, cooked red beans and garbanzo beans, the sliced carrots and cubed turnips to the stockpot.
Bring the aash to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to the mark between medium low and low. Cover the stockpot and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the turnip is tender, but not mushy. Stir several times during the cooking period to prevent sticking. Now stir in half teaspoon crushed dried mint leaves. Cover the pot and cook over medium how heat for another 5 minutes, stir a couple of times.
Serve Aash Shalgham hot with some yogurt on the side (I have sprinkled some dried mint leaves and ground cayenne pepper on my yogurt). Sometimes I use a good squirt of fresh lemon instead of yogurt, your choice! This aash is wonderful with Sangak (Persian flat bread) but I also love it with crusty Italian or whole grain bread. Enjoy and keep warm!!
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: About 35 minutes
- ½ cup uncooked Jasmine rice
- ⅓ cup bulgur
- 3 cups cold water
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 TBSP tomato paste
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper (optional)
- 1/16 tsp ground cayenne pepper (optional)
- 6 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock for a vegetarian version)
- 3 cups coarsely chopped beet greens and stems
- 3 medium turnips, peeled and diced medium (about ¾ inch cubes)
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced thin
- 1 cup garlic chives (Persian tareh), or scallion greens
- ½ cup chopped parsley
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- 1 cup cooked garbanzo beans (home cooked or drained from a can)
- ½ cup cooked red beans (home cooked or drained from a can)
- ½ tsp crushed dried mint leaves, to be added at the end
- Add rice, bulgur, ½ tsp kosher salt and 3 cups of water to a 6-Qt nonstick stockpot. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer without covering for about 15 minutes, or until the rice and bulgur are tender but firm and most of the water is cooked off.
- Add 6 cups chicken stock and 1 tablespoon tomato paste. Stir until the tomato paste is dissolved. Add the optional peppers (leave them out if you're preparing this aash for someone with a cold and cough), coarsely chopped beet greens and stems, cubed turnips, sliced carrots, herbs and cooked legumes.
- Bring all the ingredients to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to the marking between low and medium low. Cover the pot and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the turnips are tender. Stir several times during this time to prevent sticking.
- Add ½ tsp crushed dried mint leaves. Bring Aash Shalgham to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and cover the pot. Stir occasionally and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Serve hot with a spoonful of yogurt or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Enjoy Aash Shalgham with Sangak (Persian flat bread) or a crusty Italian or wholegrain bread.
Fae's Twist & Tango says
Just wonderful. I have never made it myself, but my brother-in-law makes it and calls it ‘his medicine’. I must say, his aash’e shalgam is no where near as elaborate and fabulous as yours. 😛
Thank you Fae joon, lotf dari azizam 🙂 but honestly this is one delicious aash recipe that is well worth trying!
Miss Vicki says
I made aash today (vegan) and have enough left-over for many more meals.
It is splendid. What’s not to like about aash with the unique mixture of ingredients? Thank you.
Dear Miss Vicki, I am happy you liked this Aash recipe. I love having leftover aash, that means a few hot meals that take only, oh about 3 minutes? to zap in the microwave! I love hearing from my faithful readers who make the recipes and share their experience, thank you 🙂
دست شما درد نکنه همه خانم نازنین. دوباره اینجا سه شنبه قراره برف بیاد. به گمانم وقتشه دوباره دست به کار آش شلغم بشم به لطف شما.
Homa khanoom, just a quick question about your barbari bread. I have a pizza stone and I have a generic barbari bread recipe from internet which I am going to try on a pizza stone instead of a baking tray as you had mentioned in response to a comment in your instagram. Just wanted to see if you heat the pizza stone before sliding the barbari on to it? or no do you put the stone and the dough in the oven at the same time? Sorry for asking an off the topic question, I don’t have instagram, I see your beautiful photos and recipes there and this is the only way I can ask you a question. Many many thanks for all your wonderful recipes and the time you put in to sharing them with us.
سنجاقک عزیز, It is always wonderful to hear from you, just wait, spring is almost here 🙂
I place the pizza stone in the lowest rack of the oven before I start preheating the oven. Then I form the barbari on the parchment paper and then slide it onto the hot pizza stone. Thank you for your kind words and you can ask me questions about any recipe, any time, dear Sanjagak 🙂
هما خانم دست شما درد نکنه که محبت کردید و جواب دادید. از روزی که عکس صبحانه شما رو با اون بربری توی اینستگرام دیدم، از شما چه پنهوون شبها خواب بربری میبینم. من بیست و شش سال هست که آمریکا زندگی میکنم، از شونزده سالگی اینجا هستم و توی شهری که ایرانی اصلا زیاد نیست. اینجوری شده که برای درست کردن چیزهایی که هوس میکنم بعد از این همه سال تقریبا به خود کفایی رسیدم ولی این بربری شما یه چیز دیگه بود. اونجوری که خوب پف کرده و برشته شده واقعا از توی عکس هم آدم رو صدا میکنه. خانواده مادرم اهل ارومیه هستند، این سر دنیا جای شما خالی دستورات غذایی مادر بزرگم رو درست میکنم که سالها پیش روی یک تکه کاغذ نوشتم و کم مونده کاغذها از هم وا بیاد بعد از این همه سال، ولی باز تا میکنم همونجوری میذارم لای دفترچه که باز استفاده کنم. عکسهای شما رو که میبینم باور کنید روحم شاد می شه.
باز هم یک دنیا ممنون بابت محبت شما که جواب دادید. سنگ پیتزا رو داغ خواهم کرد روی پنجره پایین فر و بربری رو درست میکنم و برای شما آرزوی شادی و تن درستی میکنم. نون زیاد درست میکنم توی قابلمه ی چدنی گاهی، به صورت نون کماج یا همون نون روستایی. لواش هم توی تابهی چدنی درست میکنم و بد نمیشه. ماست زدن رو هم بالاخره بلد شدم. بتونم پنیر خیکی یا همون کوپه پنیری رو هم درست کنم اینجا به گمانم دیگه کمبودی نیست. 🙂 بربری هم توی سینی فر درست کردم قبلا ولی باز هم میگم این بربری شما بافتش رو که توی عکس میبینم و اون پف و برشتگی روش چیز دیگهایست. میدونم بیشترش هم توی مهارت دستهای نازنین شماست، ولی تلاشم رو خواهم کرد با این راهنمایی که کردید. روی سنگ پیتزا تا به حال درست نکردم ولی با این راهنمایی که کردید فکر کنم بهتر از سینی فر بشه چون سنگ خیلی داغتر از سینی خواهد بود و نون سطح داغ لازم داره. باز هم یک دنیا تشکر هما خانم نازنین. ساق اولاسیز و سلامت. تشکر الیرم سیزین وقتیزدن.
عزیز سنجاقک خواهیش الیرم، Sounds like you are all set with all kinds of bread, yogurt and soon to be cheese! I can relate to pieces of paper with handwritten nostalgic recipes and trying so hard to recreate them 🙂 I’m sure your Barbari is going to be great. I will be posting my Barbari recipe in a near future. Thank you for sharing your culinary experience. Happy Baking!
Dear Homa Khanoom,
I very much look forward to your Barbari recipe in the future. I really love baking bread and if I had a choice, I would have a Tanoor in my home some place. There is just something in baking bread that I can’t explain, but it is very soothing to me.
باز هم دست شما درد نکنه هما خانوم. اینجا هوا داره آمادهی برف فردا می شه. من هم آمادهی پختن آش شلغم با دستور شما. سلامت و دل شاد باشید همیشه.
Dear Sanjagak, You’re very welcome and thank you
Dear Homa, instructions for the Ash were easy to follow and took little time to prep. Great tasting and the family enjoyed it. Keep up the great work.
Dear Kavoos; I’m delighted that you and your family enjoyed this recipe. Thanks so much for your support and kind words of encouragement. Please keep in touch 🙂
Julia Radditz says
This looks delicious; can’t wait to cook it. I’ve never known what to do with the turnips from my garden. Thank you for all your recipes!
Hello and thank you dear Julia! I’m so happy that my recipe has given a purpose to your amazing homegrown turnips 😉
We also love turnips peeled, sliced, with a light sprinkle of salt!
Thanks so much for writing to me and please keep in touch!
Hi Homa joon,
I assume that quinoa can be substituted for bulgur? What do you think about that?
Hello Shahnaz joon; I have never tried this with quinoa. I don’t see why you can’t use it, though I don’t think it will thicken the liquid in the same way! I like bulgur in this aash because it naturally thickens soup (loaab dar in Farsi), with the same consistency as roux (butter & flour) does for sauces. I would love to read your feedback if you do try the quinoa . Have a great week 🙂