Khoresh Gheymeh (gheimeh), also called Gheymeh Polo (polo means rice) is a Beef and Split Pea Stew which is a very traditional and popular Iranian stew with saffron potatoes that is served over either white rice or Aromatic Rice. The Aromatic Rice is a version of steamed white rice where Persian Rice Spice blend is sprinkled on the rice before steaming it.
The word gheymeh comes from how the meat is cut into small cubes in this recipe and unlike other Persian khoreshs that have larger chunks of meat, Gheymeh meat is usually cut into about one inch cubes. Traditionally Gheymeh is made with lamb or beef but due to the recent interest in using white meat instead of the red meat some people may choose to use cubed chicken breast instead which involves a slightly different preparation than the lamb or beef.
The yellow split peas used in this recipe are called “dir paz,” which literally means long cooking. This kind of split peas look exactly the same as the regular split peas but are tastier and hold their shape better during the cooking process and do not fall apart. This variety is usually sold in the Middle Eastern markets and you can ask for it by name “lapeh dir paz;” lapeh means split pea. This is the only kind of yellow split peas that I use in all of my recipes.
The half cooked split peas, fried onions, tomato paste, Limoo Amani, meat spice and butter are sauteed for a few minutes before adding the cooked meat and broth. Next the pot is covered and cooked over medium low heat until all the ingredient are cooked and tender.
UPDATE: I have recently added a Meat Spice Blend II which adds some warm spices to this khoresh; both blends taste wonderful in this recipe and it is a matter of personal preference which one you decide to use.
The potatoes are peeled and cut into thin wedges then rinsed under cold water to get rid of the starch so the wedges do not stick together during frying. Next, the potato wedges are pat dried with a paper towel and tossed with the optional saffron before frying in heated oil. Once the potato wedges are golden brown they are transferred to a paper towel lined platter to get rid of the excess oil. A light sprinkle of kosher salt adds flavor to the fried saffron potatoes.
Limoo Amani (Persian dried lime) plays a big role in the amazing taste of Gheymeh and it is also sold in the Middle Eastern markets. However if you are unable to find it in your area you can substitute fresh lime juice for it and the Khoresh Gheymeh will still be wonderful.
The traditional presentation of Khoresh Gheymeh is like the above picture with fried saffron potato wedges on top. Enjoy this mouthwatering khoresh over Aromatic Rice or White Rice.
This is the Aromatic Rice that is steamed with Persian Rice Spice and a sprinkle of saffron.
- 1 pound cross rib roast beef or a similar roast, cubed to 1-inch pieces (may use cubed lamb instead)
- 1 TBSP butter
- ½ large onion diced
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 3 cups water
- ¾ cup yellow split peas (I prefer the dir paz variety)
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 ½ large onion sliced thin and fried to golden brown (5 ounces fried onions)
- 3-4 TBSP vegetable oil to fry the onions
- 2 TBSP tomato paste
- ¼ cup crushedlimoo amani (dried Persian lime)
- 2 whole limoo amani (Pierce the sides with the tip of a sharp knife and soak in hot water for 5 minutes before adding it to the stew)
- 1 tsp Persian Meat Spice (your choice of original blend, or blend II)
- 1 tsp kosher salt (to be added to the cooked meat)
- ⅛ tsp ground saffron (optional)
- 2 TBSP butter
- FOR THE SAFFRON POTATO
- 3 medium white potatoes peeled and cut into thin wedges
- Dash of saffron (optional)
- ¼ cup vegetable oil for frying the potato wedges
- Kosher salt to taste, sprinkled over the fried potatoes
- FOR THE AROMATIC RICE
- 2 ½ cups rice
- 1 ½ tsp Persian Rice Spice
- Pieces of lavash or flour tortilla for Tahdig
- Melt butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the cubed beef, diced onion, turmeric powder, and ground black pepper (salt will be added later). Saute for 10 minutes until the meat is browned and the natural juices are bubbling.
- Add 3 cups water, cover, reduce heat to medium low and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until the meat is tender. After the meat is cooked there should be about 2 ½ cups of broth in the pot.
- Meanwhile pick through the split peas for any possible debris. Add them to a small saucepan and fill the pan with cold water and wash the peas and discard the water. Add Fresh water to the saucepan and repeat couple of times to clean the peas.
- Next add enough cold water to cover the split peas by one inch. Add ½ tsp salt and bring the water to a boil over medium heat. Cook uncovered for 5-6 minutes, or until the split peas are more tender but still very firm. If the peas get fully cooked at this stage they will get mushy after they are cooked later with the meat and sauce. Drain the peas into a colander and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet and fry the sliced onions until golden brown. Add the tomato paste and saute for another 3-4 minutes until aromatic. Add the cooked split peas, 2 TBSP butter, ¼ cup crushed dried limes (about 2-3), ⅛ tsp optional saffron and 1 tsp Persian Meat Spice. Saute over medium low heat for 5-8 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the cooked beef, broth, and 1 tsp kosher salt to the skillet. Stir to combine the ingredients. Add 2 whole limes that have been soaking in hot water, and bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce the heat to the mark between medium low and low. Cover and simmer for 35-40 minutes, or until the meat, split peas and dried limes are tender and the sauce has thickened.
- Meanwhile peel and slice the potatoes into ½-inch long sticks. Place the potatoes in a colander and rinse under cold water to get rid of the starch that is on the surface so the potatoes do not stick together when fried. Pat dry the potatoes with a paper towel before frying. If using the optional saffron, you will need to add the potatoes to a medium bowl and sprinkle a dash of saffron on the potatoes and toss to coat.
- Heat the ¼ cup vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. The oil should be very hot but not smoking. Gently add the potatoes to the hot oil and stir couple of times to coat all of the potatoes with oil, then fry them in a single layer for 15-20 minutes, stirring and turning so the potatoes are tender and light golden brown on all sides. Transfer the fried potatoes to a platter covered with a paper towel to absorb the excess oil. Immediately sprinkle the fries with about ¼ tsp kosher salt.
- To serve, add Steamed Aromatic Rice to the plates and add Gheymeh on top. Next top the Gheymeh with fried potatoes.
- Please refer to the How To section on my blog for Aromatic Steamed Rice directions.
Persian Rice Spice: The Persian Rice Spice is a blend of 5 ground spices: Rose petals, cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg and cardamom. The proportions are different depending on who is making the spice blend. I make mine in the order that it is written, with 3 parts rose petals, 2 cinnamon, 1 cumin and ½ each of nutmeg and cardamom.
Limoo Amani: If you have to substitute fresh lime juice instead of the dried lime, use ¼-1/3 cup of lime juice, adjust to your taste.