Recipe Iranian style lamb stew with celery (koresht karafs)

Morning Glory

Obsessive cook
Staff member
19 Apr 2015
Local time
1:04 AM
Maidstone, Kent, UK
Iranian stews often use lots of fresh green herbs as well as dried spices to produce a deep flavoured ‘gravy’. Most recipes using celery cook the celery for a rather long time in the stew but I wanted to preserve the colour, so cooked it separately, initially. You don’t have to do this, but I think it enhances the appearance of the dish. A key ingredient here is dried black lime (sometimes known as Persian lime) which adds a delightful aromatic acidic flavour. Serve with rice.


Ingredients (serves 2)
250g neck of lamb, cut into large chunks
1 tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp salt
½ large onion, finely sliced
½ tbsp vegetable oil
200ml vegetable stock
3 stalks of celery cut into batons
100ml water
A large pinch of saffron
Bunch of coriander, chopped (approximately 6 tbsp)
Bunch of mint leaves, chopped (approximately 6 tbsp)
1 dried lime (pierced in several places with a sharp knife)
Salt, to taste

  1. Place the lamb in a bowl and add the turmeric and salt. Mix well and leave to marinate for at least 2 hours.
  2. Gently fry the sliced onion in a large pan until softened then add the marinated lamb and vegetable stock. Simmer gently until the lamb is tender (approximately 1 hr). Add a little water during the cooking if the ‘gravy' seems to be reducing too much.
  3. Place the celery, water and saffron in a separate pan and simmer for 10 minutes (uncovered) until the celery is tender.
  4. Add the celery (and saffron infused water) , coriander, mint and dried lime to the lamb. Simmer for 15 minutes. Press the softened black lime down with the back of a spoon to release its sour juice. Add salt, to taste.

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