Abgoosht or Abgusht is a one-pot comfort food that is a rustic dish with wholesome ingredients. This stew has been enjoyed by our Persian ancestors over the centuries and still remains as one of the most popular meals in Persian cuisine. Abgoosht means “meat broth” word by word, but it is so much more! It is a delightful combination of the most tender meat and potatoes plus, vegetables, spices, and legumes. Then there is the broth mixed with pieces of sangak or lavash bread; that is the best part of the “meat broth” called, Tileet. There is yet another very old fashioned stew called, Persian Shorba, which is similarly served with the broth on the side.
Tileet is a soup made with this flavorful broth, tossed with bite-size pieces of Persian flat breads, sangak or lavash. The bread soaks up the broth and all of its flavor. Tileet is served on the side of Abgoosht and it literally melts in the mouth. The meat and vegetables may be enjoyed whole, or mashed into what is called, goosht e koobideh which is the traditional way of eating Abgoosht. Goosht e koobideh is made with a goosht koob, which looks like a meat pounder with a smooth surface.
Different cooks add different ingredients to this much traditional favorite. To start with the cut of meat varies quite a bit, more so than almost any other Persian stew. The meat is usually either beef, or lamb. Some use lamb shanks, others use stew meat, some use ribs (dandeh in Farsi). I have even had an Abgoosht made with goat meat, which was very delicious. I personally love bone-in short ribs that are large with a lot of very tender meat, and the bones add flavor and richness to the broth.
Most cooks in my family add okra and green pepper to abgoosht, but this recipe can be made without these vegetables. I personally love okra for all of its health benefits and how it thickens the stew. The type of legumes may also vary; some cooks use white beans instead of garbanzo beans. The use of souring agents such as unripe sour grapes (ghooreh) or dried lime (limoo amani) is also a personal preference. In this recipe I have used the ghooreh from my grapevine, and I love the special flavor that it adds to Abgoosht. I have also used limoo amani in the past and it tastes equally wonderful. I also have a recipe for Tas Kabob, which is made with thin slices of beef or lamb stewed with onions, potatoes, and carrots that you might enjoy.
The short ribs are cooked in water with turmeric powder, ground black pepper, garlic cloves and onions until the meat is very tender. At this point the bones can easily be pulled off the meat and discarded.
Next, tomato paste, salt, tomato halves, sour grapes, okra, green peppers, and garbanzo beans (chickpeas) are added to the pot with cooked meat and its rich broth. The optional saffron is added at this point. The pot is covered with the lid and Abgoosht is simmered until all the ingredients are tender. As expected, the rich broth is incredibly flavorful and it transforms plain pieces of bread into the scrumptious soup called, Tileet!
To serve Abgoosht, use a slotted spoon to transfer the meat and vegetables to a serving platter. Then pour the broth over pieces of toasted flat bread in a bowl. Enjoy Abgoosht, this traditional healthy dish, with fresh herbs (Sabzi Khordan), raw wedges of onions, Torshi (pickled vegetables) and toasted Sangak (Persian flat bread) or wedges of pita bread.
You might also enjoy a cup of freshly brewed Persian tea after this wholesome traditional meal for a total Persian experience!
- 2 ½ - 3 pounds bone-in beef short ribs, about 5 large meaty ones
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 5 large garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 ½ cups water
- 1 ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 1 TBSP plus 1 tsp tomato paste
- 2 ½ cups home-cooked garbanzo beans, or drained canned beans
- 5 ounces fresh small okra (optional)
- 2 Roma tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup ghooreh (unripe sour grapes) (may substitue with 3-4 Persian dried lime)
- 12 ounces white potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 ½ inch chunks
- ½ cup medium-diced green bell pepper (optional)
- ¼ tsp saffron powder (optional)
- Pieces of Sangak or pita bread for “Tileet,”or broth soup
- Trim all the external fat from the short ribs. Place the ribs in a bowl and cover with cold water. Let it sit until the other prep work is done. Adding cold water helps drain some of the blood that is in the meat and gives it a nice pink color and a better taste. Drain and discard the water before adding the ribs to the pot.
- In a medium dutch oven, or a stockpot with a heavy lid that will not allow too much moisture loss, add the short ribs, diced onion, ground turmeric, ground black pepper, garlic cloves, and water. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and cook covered for 1 ½ -2 hours, or until the ribs are very tender and fall off the bone. Pull the bones off the meat and discard.
- Select small green okra when buying; the larger ones will be woody and not as tender. Wash and drain the okra, remove the tip and stem. If the okra is larger than 2 inches long, cut into 2-inch pieces. Set aside.
- Add salt and tomato paste to the pot . Use a spoon to stir the tomato paste around in the broth until it dissolves completely.
- Add the cooked garbanzo beans, okra, ghooreh (sour grapes), diced green pepper, halved tomatoes, and cut potatoes to the pot.
- Sprinkle ¼ tsp optional saffron powder over the ingredients.
- Bring the ingredients to a boil then reduce the heat to medium low, cover and cook for about one hour. There should be about 1 ½ cups of broth after everything is nice and tender. This broth will be used to make “Tileet,” or broth soup with flat bread. Add more water as needed but if you add it at the end, bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and cook for an extra 10 minutes so the broth does not taste watered down.
- Fill ⅓ of a medium bowl with bite size pieces of Sangak (Persian flat bread) or pita bread. Set aside.
- To serve the Abgoosht: Use a slotted spoon to transfer the ingredients to a serving platter leaving as much broth in the pot as possible. Pour all the broth over the bread pieces in the bowl and toss to coat and serve immediately.
- Serve the rest of the Abgoosht ingredients (either whole or mashed) with additional toasted flat bread, wedges of raw red or white onions, Sabzi Khordan (fresh herbs), Torshi (pickled vegetables).
Limoo amaniis dried Perisan lime and is sold in Persian markets as whole dried limes that may be used in two forms: Either crush them with a nut cracker and remove the seeds, or use whole and soak in hot water for 5 minutes, before adding them to Abgoosht at the same time that the recipe calls for the unripe sour grapes.
Fae's Twist & Tango says
I have so many lovely, nostalgic memories of my Mother making this dish and my Father making its kubideh. My Mother knew that she better keep some of the kubideh for my Father to have it for breakfast the next day. 🙂
Fae, how wonderful to hear that you have fond memories of this dish too. It has always been a favorite in our family. Now I have to try it for breakfast next time 🙂
Hi, my name is Asta, I’m Lithuanian mama:) I returned from amazing trip to Iran 2 month ago and try to find recepies of iranian dishes. So I found Persian Mama’as blog. I already tried Fesenjan and today – Abgoosht. Wonderful taste brought me back to Iran, to my vacation. And my family was happy:). Thank You.
Hello Lithuanian mama, Asta! I am so happy to hear that your trip to Iran was a fun and memorable one. I hope you continue trying different recipes from my blog and share your input with me and other readers. Thank you for your thoughtful comment and please give my regards to your family.
Can you substitute the okra with another vegetable?
Hi Seth, I simply like okra for its benefits and because I grew up eating it. It also adds some thicker consistency to this very flavorful stew, but you can definitely leave it out without compromising the taste of abgoosht!
Delicious! Made this for dinner tonight for my boyfriend who is Persian. It was an absolute hit & I owe it to you! Thank you
Robyn, you’re so welcome! I’m very happy to read your comment 😉
If I use limoo Omani in this recipe, do I remove them after cooking but before smashing the stew?
That will depend on how much you like limoo omani; I love the taste, so I always remove the seeds and then smash them in the stew!
ABGOOSHT is one of my favorite dishes, I remember as a child when I was on my way home to Iran for my summer vacation ,the first meal upon my arrival would always be Abgoosht and then Haleem for breakfast .
Just thinking about that time brings back the delicious fragrant aromas.
Dear Firozé, this is also one of my favorites! It is a nutritious comfort food that brings back many memories and I truly enjoy the different twist that each cook puts into making it 😉
Although this dish sounds very yummy I’m sorry this is not abghoost! Abghoost doesn’t have okra or green bell peppers in it.
Dear Naz, using these ingredients is my personal preference and if you don’t like okra and green pepper just leave them out. However, I highly recommend that you try my recipe and experience the delicious difference for yourself.
Can’t wait to try this. I lived in Isfahan when I was a teen. The lady that lived next door to us made this. There are many recipes I would like to try. I’m glad to have found your blog.
Welcome to my blog Amy! It’s amazing how food makes up a large part of our memories. I’m glad that you’ve found a recipe from your past, and hope you will find and try many favorite recipes on this blog. Please keep in touch and write me all about your adventures in the kitchen 😉
This is wonderful! Thank you for sharing. I was wondering if you can make this in a slow cooker and what changes would you make to it?
Hello Jasmine, it’s my pleasure! Glad to have you here. You could cook the ribs in the slow cooker by adding the first 6 ingredients to the container; cook on low for 8-9 hours, or on high for 4-5 hours until the ribs fall off the bone. Remove and discard the bones.
The rest of the recipe should be followed in a regular pot. Add the content of the slow cooker to a stockpot, add the remaining ingredients on the list and follow the instructions per recipe. Good luck and enjoy!
Hello, My Grandmother was born in Tehran, Iran, and she taught me how to make a dish that consists of lamb, spinach, lemon, black eyed peas and herbs. She called it, and I apologize for my mangled spelling, cheloko Khoresh. There was also another recipe she made frequently with Lima beans, butter, dill, egg and sardines. Both were eaten over rice. My Grandmother passed away in 2008, and I would love to explore the dishes of her homeland. Have ever heard of either of these recipies? I would appreciate any help you can give.
Dear Shelva, the Persian dishes that you’ve mentioned seem to be variations of: First one, Abgusht Bozbash, and the second one Baghali Ghatogh (https://persianmama.com/baghali-ghatogh-fava-beans-with-dill-eggs/) . I hope this is helpful to you. Please let me know if you have any further questions.
Hi Homa! The first dish Shelva mentioned looked like khoresh e esfenaj because she says serves on rice and was polo khoresh. Don’t you think so? I love your blog. Thank you!
Azadeh jan; khoresh esfenaj is made with meat, spinach and prunes; I’m not familiar with a version that uses black eyed peas and herbs. Thanks for your comment and please keep in touch 🙂
love allthe recipes waouuuuuu thaaxxx my dear
Lovely to have you here dear Ameneh!
marian david says
i LOVE YOUR ABGHOOSHT RECEIPE. i WILL TRY IT NEXT WEEK
Good to hear that Marian; let me know what you think 🙂
marian david says
When I was 14, and quite gastronomically timid, my mother and I spent a summer visiting her sister in Sweden. My aunt had assisted some very kind Persian families in acclimating to Swedish culture, and befriended them. Her friends invited us to a Persian meal in their home. I was afraid of the abgoosht, but after one taste I was so excited by the flavors. What I remember most (besides this amazing stew) was a special way of making rice–crispy on the bottom…? Please include a recipe for this, because I could not get enough of it!
Hi Erika; you must have had a very sophisticated palate as a teenager, and not timid at all, if you were willing to try and not to mention enjoy foods from different cuisines. I absolutely love abgoosht! The crisp crust at the bottom of the rice that you’re referring to is called ‘tah dig’ and you will find many variations of it in this link:
To make the plain rice crust, you could follow any of the recipes posted in the above link, but just add some of the par-cooked rice as the bottom layer and slightly pack it with a spatula, then add the rest of the rice and steam as mentioned in the recipes. Thanks for your comment and please keep in touch.
Very nice. I remember my dad never liked to slice the onions to eat with Abgoosht, rather he was using his feast to smash it and brake it. This caused the onions to taste better with abgoosht. I don’t know why, but it did.
I also cook very good abgoosht, and use exactly same ingredients and also add, pinto beans and white beans to it.
I never use canned beans because it really doesn’t come close to home cooked version.
Tips: TO get rid of 100% of the aroma that comes with eating Beans, you must get I CUCUMBER and slice it in 1/2 to 1 inch tick and cook it with your Beans, dish it out later when Beans are done. Please Stir occasionally, because you want the Cucumber juice that kills the Beans Gas to be spread nicely and Beans get soaked and happy using it.
Thanks for your comment dear Behzad! It’s interesting how the taste of certain foods bring back so many childhood memories. I agree, home cooked legumes are so much better for you; no additives, no sodium! Thanks for sharing your method for cooking legumes, and here is mine: https://persianmama.com/all-about-legumes/
Please keep in touch and have a great weekend!
I made a dish inspired by this recipe on the spur of the moment, so many substitutions. The kids don’t handle chickpeas well, so I used white beans. I omitted the okra since I don’t like it. I also used boneless chuck roast that was on sale. We liked the result, but I think I prefer the khoreshes to get my persian fix!
Hello Allison; I’m happy that you’ve tried this very traditional recipe. My sister uses white beans in addition to chickpeas and I love both of them in abgoosht. Okra is an iffy ingredient for many people and leaving it out does not compromise the overall flavor at all. The only thing that might have added some richness to this stew is some type of bone-in meat. I know some cooks that serve abgoosht with kateh (Persian quick rice). OR, you could just stick with the khoresh meals 😉
Thanks so much for writing to me; I wish you and your lovely family a very happy new year!
Just wondering if the steps would remain the same if i were to use lamb instead of beef? Also what part of lamb would you reccomend? I will be cooking it in slow cooker.
Hi Parmis; the instructions are the same for lamb and beef. Boneless shoulder or leg meat will cook in less time than the bone-in parts. Happy cooking ?
Have you ever made abgoosht in a pressure cooker? Would you recommend it? I was never a fan of this dish growing up – I’m not sure why. As an adult, I want to see if my tastes have changed and may try making it myself than asking my mom to go through the trouble. Thank you for your recipes!
Dear Laleh; you could make the initial part of the recipe (through step 2) in the pressure cooker. Then cook the rest of the recipe in a regular pot. Abgoosht is one of my favorite meals; hope you will enjoy it this time 😉 Would love to read your feedback. Happy cooking!
This stew looks amazing. I have a couple of questions:
1. If I use a pressure cooker for the first part of this recipe, how long do you recommend I cook the ribs?
2. I find ribs can be greasy. Is there a way to parboil them to remove some of the fat or could I place the cooled, cooked ribs in the refrigerator overnight and then remove the congealed fat?
3. Can I use frozen okra? There is a middle eastern grocery store near me that carries small, frozen okra about 1-inch long.
4. How much ground dried lime should you use for each dried lime?
5. For the tileet, can you use day old flatbread?
I can’t wait to make this! Thank you for your recipes.
*I can’t give you a specific time since I have never cooked the ribs in a pressure cooker, but you want them almost done, so probably try them at around 25 minutes.
*Sure you can do that after they have been cooked in the first step.
*Frozen okra is fine.
*About 1 teaspoon
Anytime Naomi, Happy cooking 🙂
maria david says
I love recipes of Persian Mama!
Anita Nesmoen says
Hi and greatings from Norway! Thank you for helping me make one of the most tastefull and lovely dishes in the world. I got this served by my persian colleague at work. I dont work there anymore and missed the persian food so much that I wanted to try it out by my selfe at home. I remeber he allso made something that he called Maste Gahzemi ?!? Do you allso got the recepie for that?
Love from Anita
Greetings dear Anita, I’m delighted to read your comment! I believe you’re looking for Mirza Ghasemi which is a smoked eggplant and tomato dish with garlic:
Hope this is the recipe you’re looking for. I would love to read your feedback if you try it.
Please take care and have a fantastic week 🙂
First off, thank you so much for developing the blog and giving this valuable information to the next generation of Iranian that are outside of Iran and it’s hard for them to follow Farsi recipe.
Small comment on number one, cutting extra fat, since I’m cooking abgousht for quite some time I’d say it’s optional, actually more delicious (not healthy!!!).
Hello Touraj aziz, thanks so much for your attention and your support of my work!
I know what you mean about more fat, more taste in aabgoosht. I remember dizi places in Iran that threw in a few extra pieces of fat in the mix for flavor 😉 and that is why I love bone-in short ribs. But this is one of the fattiest meats I cook with and there is still plenty of fat in between layers after removing the thick external fat. However, if someone does not have dietary restrictions they could use it without trimming.
Please take care and keep in touch