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Persian stew with dried lime

Persian stew with dried lime

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 


  1. 1

    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.

  2. 2

    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.

  3. 3

    Add the meat and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, mixing occasionally. Add the garlic and split peas.

  4. 4

    Meanwhile, place the tomatoes and tomato paste in a food processor and liquefy. Pour into a pot and cook 5 minutes more.

  5. 5

    Discard the lime soaking water and puncture the limes, using a fork, to avoid any splattering during cooking. Add the limes to the pan.  

  6. 6

    Salt and pepper. Add the saffron and bay leaves. Add enough water to barely cover everything. Bring to a boil. 

  7. 7

    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.

  8. 8

    Turn off the heat then incorporate the ground rose petals. Let rest at least 15 minutes before serving.

  9. 9

    Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and cut them into 3/16-inch matchsticks.

  10. 10

    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.

  11. 11

    Remove the limes. Serve the stew garnished with potato matchsticks.