If you can’t find all of the beans listed, you can just use more of the others, or use a similar kind of bean instead.
Soak the brown lentils (and any of the beans that are dry) in water over night. Let the beans soak separately from the lentils. The next day before preparing your Aash-e Reshteh, change the soaking water at least twice.
COOK THE DRY BEANS (WITH THE BONE MARROW)
If you are using beef bone marrow, transfer the bone into a large pan together with the dry, soaked beans (not the lentils). If your beans are all canned, just cook the bone alone. It will give your aash lots of flavour. Add approx. 1.7l freshly boiled water and put them on medium heat.
If you want your aash to be vegetarian, only transfer the dry, soaked beans (not the lentils) into the pan and add approx. 1.7l freshly boiled water. Put them on medium heat to simmer. If you don’t use bone marrow or dry beans, just skip this step and jump to “Prep the herbs and veg”
Season with turmeric, black pepper, and salt. Be careful not to over salt at this point. Later you will add kashk, which is very salty on its own. You can always salt more in the end.
Let the bone and beans simmer for 1 hour.
PREP THE HERBS AND VEG
In the meantime wash the spinach and herbs and let them dry on spread out kitchen towels.
Skin off the onions and garlic. Finely slice the onions. Finely chop the garlic (I know that’s a lot of garlic but finely chopped is just the ideal texture for Aash-e Reshteh).
Heat a large frying pan and add 3 tbsp of vegetable oil to it. Gently fry the sliced onions for about 15 to 20 minutes until they are deeply caramelised. Be careful with the temperature. They should be nicely browned but not burnt. Transfer them into a bowl and set them aside.
Add 2 tbsp more oil to the pan and gently fry the garlic over low temperature for about 5 minutes. Transfer it into a bowl and set aside for later.
Now heat the remaining oil in the pan and briefly fry the dried mint for 10 seconds. You need to be quick so it doesn’t burn. It’s best to have a small bowl nearby to which you transfer the mint immediately after 10 seconds of frying. Set them aside for later. They should look something like this:
Add the lentils to the aash and let it simmer for another 30 minutes.
Chop the spinach, parsley, and coriander. The spinach can be roughly chopped, as the bigger leaves add a nice texture to the soup.
ADD THE HERBS, VEG AND NOODLES
30 minutes after adding the lentils, you can add the chopped herbs and spinach to your aash. Now you can also add about 2/3 of the caramelised onions and garlic. Keep the rest for decorating, and for you and your guests to add more at the table, depending on your taste.
Once the herbs and spinach have changed their colour into a deep dark green (approx. after 30 min), you can add in the reshteh.
MAKE YOUR AASH-E RESHTEH PERFECT
After 15 minutes when the noodles are cooked, check if the aash needs more water, or if it is too liquid. Keep in mind that aash is much thicker than most soups. If you still think the consistency is too thick, just add a little hot water to it.
If it needs thickening, you can combine 2 tbsp of flour with a little water to thicken the aash towards the end. Make sure there are no lumps in the mixture.
Hang in there, your Aash-e Reshteh is almost done. Now you can add about 2 tbsp of kashk and stir it in until it’s dissolved. Try the aash now to decide wether it needs more seasoning.
You can bring more kashk to the table so everyone can add as much as they like. Usually it has a quite thick consistency. For decorating purposes you can mix it with a little water until it has a thick but creamy consistency.
ADD THE FINISHING TOUCHES TO YOUR MASTERPIECE
Transfer your Aash-e Reshteh into a nice, large bowl and decorate it with some of the caramelised onions, fried garlic, fried mint, and kashk. I even sprinkled the kashk with a bit of saffron water to add another splash of colour to it. Bring the rest of the decorating ingredients to the table so everyone can top up on them, if they like.
Congratulations, you made Aash-e Reshteh! I know it’s not the most effortless of recipes but I guarantee you, it’s well worth it! Enjoy!