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Vegetarian Khoresht Beh Aloo

Vegetarian Khoresht Beh Aloo (Quince and Plum Stew)

Vegetarian khoresht beh aloo is a savory fruit-based Persian stew made of fragrant quince, sweet and tangy dried plums aloo Bukhara and spices. Quince is a seasonal fruit that is not always easy to find. It has a light yellow and gritty flesh that is tough and sometimes very sour, but when cooked, it becomes real soft and fragrant.

Vegetarian Khoresht Beh Aloo

I wanted to keep the flavors of this stew authentic, so I didn’t add any protein alternative, but feel free to add the protein of your choice. For the meat lovers in your family check out my khoresht beh recipe and to use yellow split-peas as your protein source see my vegetarian khoresht beh recipe.


Vegetarian Khoresht Beh Aloo

As with all Persian stews, you start the dish by frying your onions. To develop a richer and more flavorful sauce, fry the onions for a good 20 minutes, then add the spices. When I first started cooking, I used to slice my onions thinly and evenly and spend an hour to caramelize them. I still do that when I’m cooking for a party, but for everyday cooking I just chop the onions quickly and fry them for up to 10 minutes for meat dishes and 20 minutes for vegetarian dishes.

While the onions are frying, cut the quinces into pieces. Since they discolor quickly, it’s best to cut them just before adding them to the stew. However, if you decide to cut them sooner, make sure you keep them in a bowl of water mixed with lemon juice, ¼ cup lemon juice to 1 quart of cold water. There is no need to peel their skin. I’ve cooked them both with and without skin.

Beh (Quince)

Quince is a very hard fruit to cut and core. I found the easiest way to remove the tough and fibrous core without wasting some of the flesh is to place each quince upright on a cutting board and cut into quarters first. Then cut each quarter into two wedges. You will end up with eight wedges. Each wedge is then cut in half and the core is removed by cutting across it at an angle.

Vegetarian Khoresht Beh Aloo

When the onions are ready, stir in salt, pepper, turmeric and cinnamon. Add quince pieces and aloo, and cook for about 5 minutes mixing once or twice. You may want to soak the aloo for 20 minutes if they are very dry. The ones I used didn’t need presoaking.

Vegetarian Khoresht Beh Aloo

Add saffron, hot water and lemon juice to the onion mixture and bring to a gentle boil. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes or until the quinces are tender.

Vegetarian Khoresht Beh Aloo

Some varieties of quince and aloo are very sour unlike the ones I used in this recipe. Taste the sauce before adding the lemon juice. If the sauce tastes too sour for your taste, skip the lemon juice and add a little sugar to balance the flavors.

Vegetarian Khoresht Beh AlooTaste and adjust the seasoning. Serve over aromatic and fluffy basmati polo, yum!


Vegetarian Khoresht Beh Aloo

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 45 min
Ready in:1 hour
Yields: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

4 medium or 2 large quinces washed
4 tablespoons regular olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
1 cup aloo bukhara
¾ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon powder
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
1¾ cups hot water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (optional)
1/8 teaspoon ground saffron (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat olive oil in a medium pan. Add chopped onions and cook over medium-high heat for about 20 minutes or until slightly golden, stirring occasionally to keep from burning.

While the onions are frying, place each quince upright on a cutting board and cut into 4 quarters. Then cut each quarter into two wedges. You will end up with 8 wedges. Cut each wedge in half and remove the tough and fibrous core by cutting across the core at an angle.

When the onions are ready, stir in salt, pepper, turmeric and cinnamon. Add quince pieces and aloo, and cook for about 5 minutes mixing once or twice.

Add saffron, lemon juice and hot water to the onion mixture and bring to a gentle boil. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes or until the quinces are tender.

Some varieties of quince and aloo are very sour unlike the ones I used in this recipe. Taste the sauce before adding lemon juice. If the sauce tastes too sour for your taste, skip the lemon juice and add a little sugar to balance the flavors.

Adjust seasoning to taste.

Serve over basmati rice.