Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Gheymeh - قیمه‎

Food in winter is all about generous amounts of carbs.  I notice carbs these days as I am on an almost-paleo diet.  It all began for no real reason but the honest truth is ... I don't get the paleo diet!  Everytime I heard the word paleo, I used to get images of cavemen sitting around a bonfire eating grilled meat.   It is a diet worth criticising; it lacks major nutrients. 

I don't blog as often as I used to and get the urge to spiel what I did in between my blog posts.  Well, if you follow me on Twitter then you know more about me than I know about myself.    A few weeks ago, I volunteered at the Auckland Festival of Photography and attended a food photography workshop. I've got a few words to say about photographers... If you ever want to know what it means to be humble then meet a photographer.    A bunch of down to earth individuals who couldn't proudly say in one sentence that they were exhibiting their work.   The professional photographer's facial impressions ranged from amazement to surprise when they walked through the front door and that was my clue for spotting them.  I must say not a chatty bunch but ask them if they are  photographers and they would talk about everything to do with photography than answer the question! 

The other day I chopped a leg of lamb into pieces under the careful watch of Maman and made a stew.  I don't tell her that I kinda like her treating me as an amateur cook then she will tell me every fine detail there is to know about a particular dish.  Priceless moments they are!  

Gheymeh is a stew, more like a well-balanced casserole.  I remember the last time I had this stew cooked by an amateur.  It was more like soup, the yellow split peas turned mooshy and the fries?  Well, the cook thought it was for decoration and no limes.  This is probably the easiest Persian dish to make.  The message here is not to use yellow split peas and simmer until reduced into a rich sauce.  


500g lamb shoulder or leg chopped into 2cm cubes. (Or stewing beef cuts) 
1 large onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic finely chopped 
2-3 Limo Amani (dried limes), soaked for 10 minutes. (Can be substituted with lime powder) 
1/2 cup chana dal, soaked for at least a couple of hours
2-3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
2 medium potatoes cut into shoestrings
Oil for frying
Salt & Pepper to season

1- Heat two tablespoons of cooking oil in a pot and add chopped onions. 
2- Stir occasionally until the onion pieces are golden. Add the meat and chopped garlic. 
3- Brown the meat until golden brown, stirring occasionally.  When the meat starts to sizzle, its done. 
4- Poke the lemons with a sharp knife and add them in. 
5- Add 4-6 cups of water and reduce heat to low. 
6- Place the lid on and allow to simmer for around an hour. The meat should be cooked at this stage. 
7- Add tomato paste, drained chana dal and simmer for around 20-30 minutes. Add more water if it needs it. 
8- In a small fry pan, heat some oil and fry the potatoe pieces until golden crunchy. Drain on a paper towel. 
9- Add the fries to the stew and season with salt and pepper and turn off the heat. 
10- Serve with steamed rice. You don't have to eat the limes! 


  1. This is one of my very favourite Persian classics. Mom's, too.
    I will try your recipe this week. Cheers! xo

  2. This looks delicious & eas to make. You say poke the lemons but there is no mention of lemons in the ungredients list.

    1. Hello, The limes/lemons in the recipe refer to 'limo amani/umani', as there is no word in Farsi for lime, both lemon/lime are used interchangeably here... perfect case of lost in translation!