Khoresh Kangar (Khoresht Kangar, خورش کنگر) is a traditional and famous stew made with spear thistles. When spear thistles are available freshly in the spring, Persian homemakers clean and freeze them to keep for winter and autumn use. Spear thistle is very rich in nutrition, and cooking its delicious stew is a brilliant way to enjoy its nutritions. It is not precisely clear when was the first time that Persian chefs decided to cook stew out of this valuable vegetable. However, many believe that this stew is ancient since its name even appears in Persian proverbs, too. In Iran, spear thistles are available in the northern regions in spring, and it can be not easy to find it other times of the year. While it is challenging to clean the spear thistles with all those thistles, Iranians believe it is worth it to clean and cook them.
Different types of Khoresh Kangar:
Khoresh Kangar does not include so many ingredients; there are only spear thistles and meat and some spices. The only thing that can make a difference in the final taste is the type of meat. You can use any kinds of meat, including beef, lamb, chicken or Koofteh Rizeh (meatballs). Moreover, the kind of cooking Kangar (the spears) itself can be different. For example, one might like to fry them where others might prefer to boil them and use less fat.
Important Nutrition Facts of Khoresh Kangar:
Khoresh Kangar has about 140 kcal per 100gr. It has 12.94 gr carbohydrates, 8.23 gr protein and 7.28 gr fat. It is full of fibre and water and accordingly, a favourite food for your digestive system. Moreover, it contains 2.17mg vitamin E, 15.04 vitamin C, 2.20 mg vitamin B3, and 35 mg vitamin B4. Additionally, it includes 36.43 mg calcium, 50.10 mg iron, 107 mg phosphor, 386 mg potassium, and 544 mg sodium. Furthermore, it contains many other critical minerals and vitamins for the body. It is very rich in nutrition and suggested by many nutritionists to be cooked and eaten.
Typically Persian stews are consist of meat and some vegetables. To make a Persian stew vegetarian, all you need to do is to omit its meat. In Khoresh Karafs you can skip the meat part in the recipe and make a completely vegetarian or vegan dish. You can also add some other vegetables such as tomatoes, sour grapes and dried plums to your liking and enhance the stew’s quality.
Serving style of Khoresh Kangar:
Iranians serve Khoresh Kangar with a dish of Chelow or Kateh as the main course for dinner or lunch. In formal parties, it is usually served with Chelow, and in informal parties, it is commonly served with both of them. A cup of soup can be the best choice of appetizer for this dish at a formal party. Yoghurt, Sabzi Khordan, Salad Shirazi (Persian cucumber salad), lettuce salad, and Torshi (Persian pickles) are the typical side dishes next to spear thistle stew. All drinks can be served as a beverage, including water, Cola, and soda. Nevertheless, as always Persian yoghurt drink (Doogh) is the best companion of Persian stews.
What are the ingredients of Khoresh Kangar?
The main ingredient of this stew is spear thistles. Another primary ingredient is meat, which, according to your taste, you can use lamb, beef, or chicken. Some spices such as tomato paste, saffron and salt are needed to taste the stew up. According to the type that you prefer to cook spear thistles you may need some other ingredients. For example, if you like to fry the spears, you need to prepare vegetable oil. If you want to boil them, you will need water. Some Iranian housewives prefer cooking them in some gravy or chicken stock.
How to cook Khoresh Kangar?
To cook Khoresh Kangar, you need to clean the thistles of spears and wash them thoroughly. Then cut the spears into shapes you like. You can either cut them in circle shapes or finger length lines. Then cook the meat separately. No difference which type of meat are you using, you need to cook it separately. When the meat thoroughly cooked.pour some vegetable oil into a pan and fry the spears. Then add the meat with some gravy and tomato paste and salt. Finally, add saffron and let them cook together for 30 minutes.
This recipe is adequate for four people. The preparation time is about 1 hour and the cooking time is 3 hours. It would be best if you prepared a dish of Chelow or Kateh to serve with this stew.
- 2 cups of cleaned, cut spears
- 1 lb beef
- 1 cup of gravy
- ⅓ cup brewed saffron
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Cook the meat with some onions and water (it would take about 2.5-3 hours)
- Pour the vegetable oil into a pan and fry the spears
- Add salt
- Add the gravy
- Add tomato paste and saffron
- After the meat is cooked add it to the stew and let the meat and spears cook for 30 minutes.
- For a better taste use ghee instead of vegetable oil
- Do not add pepper to the stew
- You can use fresh tomatoes instead of tomato paste