Ash Anar (Aash Anar, Aush Anar, آش انار) is a thick Persian soup made with pomegranate. Iranians celebrate the last day of fall by gathering together and eating special foods. They call this night Yalda. Pomegranate and the dishes made with pomegranate are the fixed components of Yalda night catering. This Ash has been originated in Kordestan and soon paved its way to northern and central provinces. Nowadays it is prevalent in Gilan, Yazd, and Shiraz. It is also common in some regions of Azerbaijan province. Ash e Anar which you may know it by Persian Pomegranate soup is not an official food. They mostly cook it at Yalda nights and for casual gatherings. You won’t see Ash e Anar as a typical food at Persian restaurants or their tables while hosting.
Different types of Ash Anar:
Depend on the region they make Ash e Anar; People use different ingredients which results in different final tastes. For example, in Yazd, Shiraz, and Gilan, they add meatballs to the Ash while in other regions they don’t. Moreover, pomegranate has a sour taste itself, adjusting sour taste and sweet taste is an optional task that makes a different final flavor. Another ingredient that can make a different type of Ash e Anar is grain. You can cook this food either with lentils or split chickpeas. Rarely in some regions, they make it with beans or peas.
Important nutrition facts of Ash Anar:
Ash e Anar is a low-calorie dish that has only 61 kcal per 100gr. It has 10.98 gr carbohydrates, 1.45 gr protein, and 1.36 gr fat. It has 126 mg vitamin K, which is rare to find in other foods. Moreover, it has 5.84 mg vitamin C, 5.37 mg vitamin B4, and many other vitamins such as vitamin A, all varieties of vitamin B, and vitamin E.
Furthermore, it contains 22.93 mg calcium, 15.51 mg magnesium, 25.64 mg phosphor, 159.72 mg potassium and 152 mg sodium. It also contains plenty of other essential minerals and vitamins.
Ash is considered as a vegetarian dish in Persian cuisine because it is mostly made with vegetables and herbs and grains. However, in some regions, they add meatballs to Ash, which makes it less vegetarian. You can easily skip the meatball parts in the recipe. Moreover, you can use water and margarine instead of gravy or chicken stock, if there were any in the recipe.
Serving style of Ash Anar:
Iranians usually serve Aash as an appetizer or the main course. Depend on the type and amount of the Ash that you are going to serve you can either serve it for lunch and dinner as an appetizer or the main course. If it is served as an appetizer, they try to make a light main course. Ash e Anar is mainly cooked and served at Yalda night. In some regions, it is served as the main course of dinner for Yalda night. In some other areas, they serve it as Yalda night foods along with watermelon, cotton candy, and nuts.
If you are cooking Ash Anar as a course for your ordinary lunch or dinner, you can serve some crunchy pieces of bread along with it. Moreover, in some places, they serve sugar and lemon juice to let the guest adjust the sour taste to their liking. However, if you are going to serve Ash e Anar as apart of Yalda night’s catering, you will serve it along with Yalda night’s foods, such as nuts, cotton candies, and watermelon.
What are the ingredients of Ash Anar?
The ingredients for Ash Anar include a group of grains, herbs, and vegetables. To cook this food, you need rice, water or gravy, spiled chickpeas, and some herbs and spices. Pomegranates are the critical components of this recipe. The herbs you need include cilantro, spinach, parsley, and leaks. You require some spices such as salt and pepper. Another spice that is unique for only this Ash is Persia hogweed ground. Finally, it would be best if you had onions, and meat to make meatballs.
How to cook Ash Anar?
To cook Ash e Anar first, dice some onions and saute them in vegetable oil; then add split chickpeas and let them cook for some minutes. Then wash and add the rice and saute them together. Next, make Koofteh Rizeh (meatballs) with the onions and beef and fry them in some vegetable oil. Add water or gravy to the Aash and then add chopped herbs and let them cook until it starts to boil. Finally, after the grains are thoroughly cooked, add pomegranates, and Persia hogweeds and cook for more 5-10 minutes.
This recipe is adequate for four people. The preparation time is about 45 minutes, and the cooking time is 20 minutes.
- 5 cups gravy or water
- 1 cup of rice
- ½ cup spilt chickpeas
- 2 onions
- 4 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon Persian hogweed ground
- 3 cups a mixture of herbs (cilantro, parsley, leaks, spinach)
- Pour 2 tablespoon oil into a pan and saute the one diced onion
- Add split chickpeas
- Add the washed rice
- Add gravy
- Shred the other onion into ground beef and add salt and pepper to it
- Fry the meatballs with the remained oil
- Add meatballs to the Ash
- After the rice and split chickpeas are cooked thoroughly, add pomegranates
- Finally, add Persia hogweeds and cook it for 5 minutes.
- Soak and cook the split chickpeas separately with caraway seeds.
- Add some butter instead of vegetable oil if you are using water
- You can exchange the beef with lamb
- You can add some dried mint as a topping
- As a vegan, you can replace the meatballs with a cup of lentils
- You can use 3-4 tablespoon pomegranate paste instead of its petals.