The recipe for this hearty Garbanzo Bean (chickpea) Potage (Pottage) or Tandir Aashi is from my home town of Tabriz in Eastern Azerbaijan, Iran. The word Tandir is Azeri for Tandoor oven, and Aashi means Aash in Azeri, which describes many thick soups in Azeri/Persian cuisine. This particular aash is thicker than most and is cooked with garbanzo beans, or chickpeas, called “Nokhod” in Azeri and also in Farsi. The background history of Tandir Aashi is that back in the day many Perisan homes had a built in tandoor oven and the yearly Lavash bread for the household was baked in these ovens by hired professional bakers in early morning hours for 2-3 consecutive days. They used to cook this aash in heavy pots inside these Tandoors. The pot was lowered into the hot coals and after a few hours of baking the Tandir Aashi would be cooked and ready to eat.
Onion is actually the main ingredient in this recipe and when it cooks up, the same onion that makes your eyes water when you peel and cut it, melts into the pottage and gives it a mild sweet flavor. The other important purpose for using so many onions in this recipe goes back to decades ago when in cold Tabriz winters there was a scarcity of fresh vegetables with the exception of a few, including onions.
In present day Tandir Aashi is still a favorite aash because it is extremely comforting and inviting in cold weather. It is also loved because of the health benefits associated with onions that are high in vitamin C and also believed to lower blood pressure and inflammation with potential benefits to immune system.
To make this pottage super healthy, I recommend using home cooked garbanzo beans that are a healthier alternative and taste better than the canned variety. I have posted easy instructions for cooking garbanzo beans on this blog previously, and you will find it here. For a vegetarian version of Garbanzo Potage substitute vegetable stock for chicken stock.
Tandir Aashi can be cooked in a pressure cooker or regular stockpot with a heavy lid; I have included both methods in the recipe below.
This recipe needs very few ingredients and packs a big load of nutrients and taste. Add all the ingredients to a pressure cooker or a regular stockpot with a good lid that will not allow too much loss of moisture. If using a stockpot make sure you stir it occasionally so the ingredients do not stick to the pot. If there is not enough liquid in the pot more chicken stock (vegetable stock, or water) may be added in small amounts to maintain a nice thick consistency.
Once all the ingredients are tender and the potage has thickened, remove the pot from the heat and use a immersion blender to blend some of the garbanzo beans but leaving some whole for texture.
Ladle the Garbanzo Potage into individual bowls and top each bowl with one or two cubes of butter and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon. Enjoy this warm and buttery comfort food with some crusty bread and salad.
Cooking time 30 minutes with pressure cooker, 1½ hours in stockpot
- 1 ½ cups chickpeas ( home-cooked garbanzo beans) or one 16-ounce can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
- ⅔ cup coarse bulgur, rinsed in a fine mesh strainer under cold water
- 5 medium yellow onions, peeled and diced medium
- ¼ cup butter (2 ounces)
- 3 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
- ⅛ tsp fresh ground black pepper
- Pinch of cayenne pepper (a little cayenne pepper goes a long way in this recipe!)
- ½ tsp kosher salt (more to taste)
- Additional butter
- Ground cinnamon
- The Pressure Cooker Method: Place all the ingredients inside the pressure cooker. Close the lid and follow the instructions per manufacturer’s manual.
- Cook over medium high. When the pressure indicator rattles, lower the heat a little bit and cook for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat.
- Follow the safety instructions for opening the lid of the pressure cooker.
- Use a submersion blender to blend some of the cooked garbanzo beans and leaving some whole for texture. Continue cooking over low heat for another 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. The pottage will have a medium thick consistency, add more chicken stock or water in very small amounts if needed. Add more salt to taste if you wish.
- The Stockpot Method:Place all the ingredients in a large stockpot with a heavy lid that will not allow too much moisture loss. Bring the ingredients to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook covered for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, maintaining a low boil. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
- When the pottage thickens and the ingredients are very tender, remove from heat and use a submersion blender to blend some of the cooked garbanzo beans and leaving some whole for texture. The pottage should have a medium thick consistency. Reduce the heat to low and cook the pottage for another 5-10 minutes. Stir frequently at this point to prevent sticking. Add more chicken stock or water in very small amounts if needed. Add more salt to taste if you wish.
- Serve the Garbanzo Pottage/Tandir Aashi in individual bowls. Garnish each bowl with 1 teaspoon or more of butter and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon. Enjoy this hearty comfort meal with some crusty bread and salad.