Dried limes and rose petals – ingredients typical to Iranian cuisine – add a unique fragrance to the sauce that accompanies this dish. Even if the stew is delicious as-is, matchstick fried potatoes are usually added and make for an excellent garnish, as far as we’re concerned.
- 2 dried limes
- 2 medium onions
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp turmeric, ground
- 1 lb 1-inch cubed lamb or beef
- 2 garlic cloves
- ½ cup yellow split peas
- 2 medium tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste (opt.)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 generous pinch of saffron
- 1 tsp rose petals, ground or 1 tsp rose water
- 1 large potato
- ½ cup vegetable oil, for frying
Place the dried limes in a small bowl and pour enough boiling water to cover the limes. Cover and set aside. This step will soften the limes and help liberate their perfume.
Heat a large pan on medium. Roughly chop the onions and sauté lightly in the oil. Stir occasionally.
Incorporate the turmeric and mix until the onions turn yellow.
Add the meat and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, mixing occasionally. Add the garlic and split peas.
Meanwhile, place the tomatoes and tomato paste in a food processor and liquefy. Pour into a pot and cook 5 minutes more.
Discard the lime soaking water and puncture the limes, using a fork, to avoid any splattering during cooking. Add the limes to the pan.
Salt and pepper. Add the saffron and bay leaves. Add enough water to barely cover everything. Bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat. Let simmer 1 hour or a little longer until the meat is tender. Cover halfway through cooking, once the sauce begins to thicken.
Turn off the heat then incorporate the ground rose petals. Let rest at least 15 minutes before serving.
Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and cut them into 3/16-inch matchsticks.
Heat oil in a small pan on medium and add the matchsticks once the oil is hot, but not smoking. Cook, stirring occasionally until they are golden (5 minutes). Remove, using a skimmer and place on a paper towel.
Remove the limes. Serve the stew garnished with potato matchsticks.