Zara’s lamb and herb stew

Zara is an Iranian woman whom I’ve met in Oasis- a place in Splott buzzing with workshops, food events and other creative activities. I asked her if she could share a recipe that is special in some way, or has some story. She said she knew just the one. ‘Ghormeh sabzi’, she told me with a smile on her face. It is a herb stew, ‘ghormeh’ from Iranian means ‘a stew’ and sabzi ‘greens’. Parsley, coriander and fenugreek are slowly cooked making this dish so flavoursome.

Fenugreek leaves are one of the key ingredients in Ghormerh sabzi. Suprisingly fenugreek is used in making a fake maple syrup as it has a very similar aroma. When it’s cooked and combined with other flavours though it adds nice and subtle bitterness and sweetness to the dish. If it’s difficult to come by fresh fenugreek leaves, you can use dried fenugreek seeds, but toast it in the pan beforehand to reduce the bitterness.

Traditionally it is also cooked using limoo amani or dried limes which are sun-dried limes. In Persian cuisine they are often used in flavoring stews and soups.

It is a very special recipe in that it’s very very tasty. It is one of the best stews I’ve ever had. I must admit that the great quality lamb from Cardiff central market played a great part in this too.

Ingredients (serves 2)

1. A bunch of parsley

2. A bunch of corriander

3. 1/2 cup fresh fenugreek, or 2 tbsp dried fenugreek

4. 1 onion, diced

5. 400g stewing lamb, diced

6. 1 tsp tumeric

7. 1 can of kidney beans (or 250g if soaking and boiling)

8. 3 dried limes (limoo amani) or 3 tbsp of lime juice (I replaced it with lemon juice)

9. A pinch of salt and pepper

10. 1 cup of rice


1. Finely chop parsley, coriander and fenugreek (if using fresh) and fry in a bit of oil. Put it is aside for now.
2. Fry deiced onion until golden. Then add lamb, tumeric, salt and pepper and fry until it has browned a bit.
3. Add all the other ingredients- herbs, beans, lemon, fenugreek (if using dry). Add water so that it covers the stew and let it cook for about 1 1/2hours.
4. In the meanwhile cook rice.
5. Assemble everything in one plate and enjoy!

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