Persian Green Almond Stew (Khoresh Chaghaleh Badoom) is a real special meal made with parsley, mint, beef, dried lemons and green almonds (available in the spring).
It is mid-spring and I love my weekly trips to the market where I find so many of my favorite produce coming back to life: artichokes, asparagus, peas and rhubarb. And in the Persian and middle eastern markets, you can find green almonds, chaghaleh badoom.
Want to learn more about this unusual fruit? Well, read on!
About chaghaleh badoom
If you never seen the almond fruit, well this is a real treat. The fruit itself has a green fuzzy skin, similar to peaches. When you find green almonds in early spring, the fruit is small, about 1-inch long. At this size, the entire fruit is edible.
At this stage, the skin and flesh are soft. The heart of the almond fruit, where the nut forms, is a clear gel and tastes tangy and sour. Persian love their sour foods and chagaleh badoom is one of our favorite snacks.
By mid to late spring, as the green almond fruit gets larger, the flesh gets tougher and should not be eaten. The nut center is still not fully formed, so you can still open it up and enjoy the sour center.
Why you must try this recipe
So you’ve tried fresh almonds and are a convert. Now you want to a new way to enjoy them? Then this green almond stew is a must.
The base of the stew is pretty much the base of another Persian fabulous stew, khoresh karafs. It uses mint and parsley and dried limes. But instead of adding celery to the stew, you halve and add green almonds.
But many Persians combine the two stews, serving the herb base with both celery AND green almonds. So knock yourself out deciding which version you want to try.
The meat for khoresh chaghaleh badoom can be lamb shanks or beef, depending on personal preference and what you have available. I also like to throw in spinach for more added nutrition.
During the cooking process the inner almond nut can turn bitter, so it is typically removed for this recipe. BUT, don’t discard it. It is still edible and can be munched on while you cook away… to give you energy, right?!
This is a delicious stew to be enjoyed in the spring. Serve over some fluffy basmati rice and you have an amazing meal.
Ingredients you need
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- Beef stew meat: I used 1-inch chunks of London broil for this stew, but you can also use bone-in beef or lamb shanks.
- Green almonds: You want the smaller, younger green almonds
- Dried Persian limes: Persian dried limes (limoo omani) are very distinct in flavor. You can purchase them at middle eastern markets or online. You pierce the whole limes or chop them before adding to the stew. You can also use ground dried lime. If you do not have dried limes, substitute with more lemon juice.
- Saffron: You want high quality saffron, too. Look for long strands that are crimson red throughout. Grind it yourself using a mortar and pestle. Saffron powders typically have color pigments and are lower in quality.
- Onion: You can use a brown, white or yellow onion
- Lemon juice
- Fresh greens: parsley, mint and spinach. I am a proponent of using fresh parsley and mint and not dried herbs. They offer more flavor and texture to the stew as compared to their dried counterparts. You can use frozen spinach instead of fresh. Just be sure to thaw it first and squeeze out the excess water.
- Pantry staples: turmeric, salt, pepper, all purpose flour, extra virgin olive oil, beef broth
1. Begin by sautéing the chopped onions in hot oil. season with salt, pepper and turmeric. Some people cook the onions down until nearly caramelized. I cook them for about 5-10 minutes.
2. In a large bowl mix together stew meat salt, pepper, turmeric and flour until meat is coated evenly. Add to the onions in the hot pot.
3. Brown the meat on all sides. Do not cook it all the way. Stir in beef broth and lemon juice and scrape up the browned bits of meat from the bottom of the pot. Add dried limes to the stew, reduce heat to low, cover pot and simmer for 2 hours.
4. Using a food processor (or chop finely with a knife) chop parsley, mint and spinach. then sauté the greens in olive oil in a large skillet.
5. Add the cooked greens to the meat mixture, along with ground saffron. Cook stew covered over low heat for another 30 minutes.
6. Cut in half and remove the inner seed from green almonds. Stir in halved green almonds into the stew, cover pot and cook for 30 minutes.
Recipe tips and FAQs
Green almonds are not available everywhere, so consider yourself lucky if you come across some. And be a little adventurous in your culinary journeys and try something new and unfamiliar!
The almond fruit itself has a green fuzzy skin, similar to peaches. When you find green almonds in early spring, the fruit is small, about 1-inch long. At this size, the entire fruit is edible. The heart of the almond fruit, where the nut forms, is a clear gel and tastes tangy and sour. By mid to late spring, as the green almond fruit gets larger, the flesh gets tougher and should not be eaten. The nut center is still not fully formed, so you can still open it up and enjoy the sour center.
When the fruit is young and small, the flesh is soft and you can eat the entire pod. To balance the sourness of the green almond, Persians like to sprinkle salt over chagaleh badoom and enjoy this fiber packed fruit simply like this. When the fruit gets larger and the flesh gets too thick to eat, you can peel and enjoy the sour center. You can also make this delicious green almond stew, Khoresh Chaghaleh Badoom.
- 2 lb beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon groundblack pepper
- ¾ teaspoon turmeric
- 2 teaspoon all-purpose flour (optional)
- 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped (approximately 1 cup)
- 2 cup beef broth
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 2 dried Persian limes, quartered
- 3 cups parsley, packed
- 1 cup mint, packed
- 1 cup spinach, packed
- ¼ teaspoon ground saffron
- 2 lb green almonds
- In a large bowl mix together stew meat ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, ¼ teaspoon turmeric and 2 teaspoon flour until meat is coated evenly.
- Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat and add 1 TBS olive oil.
- When oil is hot, add chopped onions.
- Cook until onions start to soften, approximately 7 minutes and add ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon pepper, ½ teaspoon turmeric.
- Cook for a 2 minutes, then raise the heat to medium-high, add stew meat and brown all sides, approximately 7 minutes.
- Stir in beef broth and lemon juice.
- Using a wooden spoon, scrape up browned bits of meat from the bottom of the pot.
- Add dried limes to the stew, reduce heat to low, cover pot and simmer for 2 hours, stirring the stew every 30 minutes.
- Using a food processor (or chop finely with a knife) chop parsley, mint and spinach.
- Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 TBS olive oil.
- Sauté chopped greens for 5 minutes then add to the meat mixture, along with ground saffron.
- Cook stew covered over low heat for another 30 minutes.
- Cut in half and remove the inner seed from green almonds.
- Stir in halved green almonds into the stew, cover pot and cook for 30 minutes.
Serving Suggestions: The inner seed is removed because it can turn bitter during the cooking process. Some people skip this step and use the whole pod in the stew. This is one of those dishes that tastes even better the next day. Serve with basmati rice.
Cooking Tips: This dish can also be made vegetarian by omitting the meat and by using vegetable broth.
Nutrition Note: The nutrition information listed below does not include the nutritional information for green almonds because I have yet to find a database that gives me the nutritional information for green almonds.
Serving Size:2 cups
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 521Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 150mgSodium: 842mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 3gSugar: 25gProtein: 52g
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