Ash Shalgham (Aash Shalgham, Ash e Shalgham, آش شلغم) is one of the Persian Ashes that Iranians cook and use it commonly during winter. Ash refers to a thick soup that Iranians make with herbs, gravy, and grains. Shalgham is the Persian term for turnip. As it is clear literally, this Aash is made mainly with turnips which is very beneficial for the body according to the nutritionists.
According to historians, the food was first originated in Khorasan, a province in the northeast of Iran. Since it includes notable amounts of onions and turnips, they have been using it to prevent cold season diseases. After Khorasan, the food paved its way to Yazd and Fars (center and south of Iran). And soon aster, all over Iran everybody was familiar with the food. Ash e Shalgham, and totally Ash is not an official food. You cannot find Ash e Shalgham in a restaurant easily. There might be some rare Ash shops that sell Aash e Shalgham, too. Although it is usually categorized as an appetizer, it makes a great light main course as dinner or lunch.
Different types of Ash Shalgham:
Aash e Shalgham is mainly cooked in three provinces of Iran, including Yazd, Khorasan e Jonoobi, and Fars. in each of these regions they use different ingredients and as a result, make a different final flavor in their foods. For example, in some areas such as Yazd, they add meat or meatballs to the Aash. However, in its original place, Khorasan they make it with no meat at all. Nevertheless, all the types have onions, some herbs such as cilantro and spinach, and turnips as the main ingredients.
Important Nutrition Facts of Ash Shalgham:
Ash Shalgham has about 60 kcal per 100gr. It has 8.05 gr carbohydrates, 2.22 gr protein, and 2.19 gr fat. Moreover, it contains about 5 mg vitamin C, 0.74 mg vitamin E, 9.51 mg vitamin B4, 0.6 mg vitamin B12. It also includes minerals, such as 15.64 mg calcium, 9.24mg magnesium, 32 mg phosphor, 115 mg potassium, and 223 mg sodium. Additionally, it contains many other vital vitamins and minerals that nutritionists and herbalists recommend to use.
If we omit the few regions that add meat to Aash, we can claim that Persian Ashes are one of the best vegetarian dishes in the world. All the ingredients are vegetables and herbs. In some recipes, they make Aash with gravy or chicken stock that you can easily replace them with water and margarine. As a vegan or vegetarian, you can cook and eat Persian Ashes confidently.
Serving style of Ash Shalgham:
Iranians serve Ash as an appetizer or the main course. Indeed, depending on the amount of serving, you can use it as an appetizer or the main course. It also can make a great brunch with some crunchy pieces of bread. I suggest you use it as a light dinner meal. You can also cook it as an evening meal in the casual gatherings and parties. If you are going to serve it as an appetizer, my recommendation is to serve a light main course. Moreover, avoid the main dishes with grains such as Khoresh e Gheymeh or Ghormeh Sabzi. Any kinds of drinks or desserts are welcomed next to this food. However, it would be best if you were selective about the side dishes. For example, Sabzi Khordan may be an incorrect choice next to Aash since they both include herbs.
What are the ingredients of Ash Shalgham?
The main ingredient is turnips. You need about a turnip per person. Moreover, it would be best if you had onions. You can either fry the onions during the cooking process or use fried onions. Bulgur, rice, and dried mints are other ingredients you should prepare—some herbs such as parsley, cilantro, scallion, and spinach.
Moreover, it would be best if you had spices such as turmeric, salt, and pepper. Finally, you can add some meat. If so, you need to prepare some ground beef. Note that gravy or water are the fixed ingredients of Persian cuisine’s Ashes.
How to cook Ash Shalgham?
To cook Ash Shalgham, first pout some fried onions into a pan. If you don’t have fried onions prepared, you require to fry some onions. Then add turmeric, dried mint, and salt. Add the washed rice to the onion. Then add the bulgur after some minutes add chopped herbs along with gravy or water and butter. In a separate pan make Koofteh Rizeh (meatballs) and add them to Aash. Finally, add sliced turnips and let the Aash cook for about another 30 minutes.
This recipe is adequate for four people. The preparation time is 30 minutes, and the cooking time is 1 hour.
- 5⅕ oz ground beef
- 1 small onion
- 3 tablespoon rice
- 3 tablespoon fried onions
- 3 tablespoon bulgur
- 4 small turnips
- 1 tablespoon dried mint
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 7 oz a mixture of herbs (cilantro, parsley, scallion, spinach)
- 8 cups of water or (gravy + water)
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Pour vegetable oil into a pan and fry the diced onion
- Add the fried onions and washed rice to them
- Then add dried mint, salt, and turmeric to the onions
- Add washed bulgur
- Add chopped herbs
- Add water and let them cook for 30 minutes.
- In another pan, make meatballs with ground beef and fry them
- Add meatballs to the Ash
- Finally, slice the turnips or cube them and add them to the dish
- Cook them for another 30 minutes on low or medium heat,
- You can omit the meatballs from a recipe
- If you don’t have gravy, you’d better use butter instead of vegetable oil
- For more nutrition in the food cook it with gravy
- Note that using water may be a better option than using chicken stock instead of gravy