Ash-e-jow (Persian Barley Soup)

This is a variation on a classic Persian dish.  I love the warmth that the beans and barley leave behind in your stomach on a cold night.  Of course with the barley, this is NOT a gluten free dish.  You could of course leave the barley out, but then it wouldn’t be the same.  It is however suitable for vegetarians, vegans, and those on a lactose free diet.  The quantity specified should serve 6, or 4 if you are greedy like me.



2 medium onions, diced

2 tbs oil (I prefer olive)

Pinch of salt

420g tin of chickpeas

420g tin of red kidney beans

1 cup dried barley

1/2 cup dried lentils (whichever variety you have on hand)

6 cups vegetable stock

1 tbs dried mint or double if fresh

1 tbs dried parsley or double if fresh

2 tbs dried coriander or double if fresh (use the stalks in the soup and the leaves for decoration if you prefer)

1 tsp tumeric

1/2 tsp black pepper

Optional: 1 cup finely chopped baby spinach or watercress


Fry the onions in the oil with the salt (the salt stops the onion discolouring) until soft.  Add the herbs and tumeric and stir.

Add all other ingredients except the optional greens and bring to a boil.   Turn down to a simmer and let simmer for 1 & 1/4 hours, stirring occasionally.

If using the optional greens stir this into the soup just before serving, you only want them to wilt.