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Persian Soup-e jow (Cream of Barley Soup), Slice- and Saba-Style

Persian Soup-e jow (Cream of Barley Soup), Slice- and Saba-Style

(c) Andrea Sparacio


My favorite dish on the menu at Joe and Ian’s beer pairing dinners for Slice was a Persian Soup-e jow inspired by our friend Saba. His mom Zarrin would make huge batches of this soup for household gatherings when he was growing up. I got to hang around while he and Joe made a test batch at our apartment last week, Saba calling his mom every few minutes for tips. It was pretty damn sweet. Folks who know her say she’s the best Persian cook around—and incidentally, she’s not Persian, she’s Indian. I have my eye on Saba for more of his family recipes, so stay tuned. That’s right, Saba. I’m looking at you.

Here’s the recipe the boys used for the benefit dinners, straight from Zarrin’s kitchen to 100 hungry Slice supporters.


Cream of Barley Soup (Soup-e jow)

Adapted from New Food of Life by Najmieh Batmanglij

This is really a combination of the Ash-e jow and Soup-e jow recipes from New Food of Life.

2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
3 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup pearl barley
4 cups water
3 dried limes, with 3 holes poked into each
3 cups chicken broth
3 leeks, finely chopped
1 carrot, grated
¼ cup chopped fresh dill
2 cups red beans

2 tablespoons olive oil
½ onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tablespoon dried mint leaves
½ cup plain whole milk yogurt
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1. In a large pot, brown the onions and garlic in the oil. Add the tumeric, cumin, salt, and pepper when the onions begin to soften.

2. When the onions brown, add the barley and sauté  for a few minutes.

3. Add the water and limes and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 1 hour.

4. Add the chicken broth, leeks, carrot, dill and beans. Simmer for another 30 to 40 minutes.

For the Garnish
1. Sauté the onions in olive oil. As they begin to brown, add the garlic and sauté until golden.

2. Remove onions and garlic from the heat and mix in the dried mint. Mix well.

3. Garnish each serving with a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkle of chopped parsley.

Serves about 12.

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