Carrots are known and loved for their health benefits, their brilliant color and sweet taste, their year-round low price, and for their versatility in different recipes from sweet to savory dishes. Carrots add flavor and color to any recipe when shredded in salads like Salad e Kalam, diced in soups (Soup e Jo, and Soup e Morgh e Zaferani), sliced in stir fry and roasted or grilled with colorful root vegetables. Carrots are also the main component of this favorite Persian stew, Khoresh Havij Ba Aloo.
Havij is Farsi for carrot and Aloo is plum, in this case dried plum or prune. This Azeri/Persian stew (khoresh) is one of my mom’s recipes (Havij Khurushi in Azeri) and she used to make it often and I always loved it; she made it without the prunes. This is a variation of her recipe and I’ve added prunes and fresh lemon juice. Carrots are julienned into thin sticks and are cooked with chunks of beef, plump prunes and lemon juice. The natural sweetness of prunes combined with the fresh lemon juice give this stew a lovely tangy flavor.
The beef is cubed into big chunks and is cooked in a pressure cooker for a shorter cooking time, but it may be cut into smaller cubes and cooked in a regular stockpot with some added time.
The carrots are julienned into sticks
Then they are cooked with very little oil in a covered large skillet until firm but tender.
Cook the cubed beef in the pressure cooker or in a stockpot until fork tender.
Add the cooked meat and the rest of the ingredients to the large skillet with carrots and onion mixture and simmer until the sauce is reduced and thickened. Serve over saffron rice and enjoy!
Khoresh Havij ba Aloo over rice is a fantastic meal any time of year, but it is especially warm and comforting in fall. I have also posted a mixed rice recipe with carrots called, Lubia Polo ba Havij that is layered with steamed aromatic rice.
- 2 pounds carrots (about 10 medium), peeled and julienned 2 inches long x ¼ inch thick
- 2 TBSP vegetable oil or butter
- 1 ½ pounds cross rib roast or any similar roast, cut into 2 inch chunks
- ½ large onion, diced medium
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 3 cups cold water
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced and fried to golden brown (about 4 ounces fried onions)
- 2 TBSP tomato paste
- 8 ounces pitted prunes (I used Kirkland brand Sunsweet Dried Plums)(aloo shirin)
- 1- 1½ cups boiling water
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 TBSP lemon juice
- Peel and julienne the carrots (1/4-inch thick x 2-inch long)
- Heat 2 TBSP vegetable oil or butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots, cover the skillet and cook for 15 minutes, or until tender but firm. Stir 2-3 times. Remove the carrots from the skillet, set aside.
- In the same skillet add 3 TBSP oil and fry the sliced onion to golden brown.
- Add 2 TBSP tomato paste to the fried onions and saute for 5 minutes over low heat until aromatic. Add the cooked carrots back in the skillet and set aside until the meat is cooked.
- Meanwhile add beef, turmeric powder, ground black pepper, water, and the diced onion to a 4-6QT pressure cooker. Close the lid and top with the pressure regulator. Cook over medium high heat.
- Follow the safety precautions written in the owner’s manual for your specific pressure cooker. Once the pressure builds up and the pressure regulator starts rattling, set the timer for 20 minutes and reduce the heat a little bit (to between med high and medium) and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the pressure cooker from heat and without removing the pressure regulator place the pressure cooker in the sink and run cold water over it to release all of the pressure inside the pot before removing the regulator device.
- Add the content of the pressure cooker to the large skillet with carrots and onion mixture.
- Add 1 tsp kosher salt, 1-1 ½ cups boiling water, lemon juice and prunes to the skillet. Bring it to a boil. Cover the skillet, reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the sauce is reduced and thickened.
- Serve over saffron rice.