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Serves 4-5
Preparation time: About 30 minutes
Simmer time: 30 minutes
Recipe type: Vegetarian Khoresh with Rice
Cuisine: Persian
  • 4 Chinese eggplants peeled, sliced lengthwise and cut into 3 pieces (or 8 Italian eggplants, sliced lengthwise and cut in half)
  • 1 cup slow-cooking yellow split peas (lapeh dir paz)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 large yellow onions, peeled and sliced very thin, fried to golden brown (divided, ¾ for khoresh and ¼ for the rice)
  • 3 TBSP butter, for frying the onion
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 TBSP tomato paste
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • ⅛ tsp saffron powder (optional)
  • 2-3 TBSP pomegranate concentrate
  • Zest of one orange
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (3 medium oranges)
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • ½ cup hot water (more if needed)
  • 2 cups uncooked basmati rice (2½ cups if making yogurt tahdig)
  • ¾ cup blanched slivered almonds
  • ⅔ cup zereshk (barberries)
  • Dash of saffron powder (optional)
  1. Bake the prepared eggplants according to these instructions. Set aside.
  2. Pick through and wash the yellow split peas; drain and add to a small saucepan. Add enough water to cover the peas by 1 inch. Add ½ tsp salt. Bring it to a boil without covering the pan. Reduce heat to medium low and cook until the split peas are tender when you bite into one. Once the pomegranate paste is added to the khoresh the split peas stop cooking further and stay firm in this khoresh, so cook them to the consistency that you like to have in your khoresh. Drain and set aside.
  3. At this point start making the Persian rice with your choice of TahDig
  4. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet fry the thinly sliced onions in 3 tablespoons butter.
  5. When the onions start turning golden around the edges, add ½ tsp turmeric and saute until rich golden brown.
  6. Transfer ¼ of the fried onions to a small skillet and add the slivered almonds, zereshk and the optional saffron. Saute over very low heat for couple of minutes until the zereshk looks plump and shiny. Set aside.
  7. To the remaining fried onions add 2 tablespoons tomato paste, salt, the peppers, ¼ teaspoon saffron and the cooked split peas and saute for 3-4 minutes over low heat, stir several times.
  8. Add the pomegranate concentrate and saute while stirring for another 2 minute over low heat. Add the orange/lemon juice mixture (1 ½ cups), ½ cup hot water, and zest of one orange to the skillet and bring it to a boil.
  9. Add the baked eggplants, bring it to another boil. Cover and cook over the marking between low and medium low for 25–30 minutes, or until the eggplants are tender and very flavorful. The sauce will be thick. If you want a thinner sauce, add about ¼ cup hot water, stir and bring to a boil and continue cooking for couple of minutes.
  10. To serve the rice: Use a spatula to transfer some of the steamed rice to a serving platter, then add some of the almond and zereshk mixture on top. Continue this for two more times until you have used up the rice and the almond mixture. The top layer should be the almond mixture. You may also serve this khoresh with plain steamed Persian rice.
The pomegranate concentrate is sold at Persian and Middle Eastern markets. I have used the original flavor which is a tangy (torsh o shirin) syrup. The pomegranate molasses tends to be slightly more sour (torsh).
Zereshk is the tart red berries of the edible barberry plant and is also available online or at the Persian markets. If unable to purchase zereshk, you may substitute with dried cranberries, for a slightly sweeter, but nevertheless a delicious alternative.
For the vegan version: Add vegetable oil in place of butter
Recipe by Persian Mama at