This recipe and video for Instant Pot Khoresh Gheymeh features the classic tomato based Persian split pea stew with its quintessential tart flavor from dried limes (limoo omami) and the fried potatoes garnished on top.
Persian cuisine is filled with many aromatic and incredibly delicious dishes. If you ever dine at a Persian restaurant and order the tahdig (Persian rice crust) topped with stews, you will be served the trifecta of stews, the three quintessential Persian stews: Khoresht Gormeh Sabzi (Persian herb stew), Fesenjoon (Persian pomegranate stew) and Khoresh Gheymeh (Persian split pea stew).
Traditionally, Khoresh Gheymeh is made over the stove, taking several hours for the stew meat to cook. But as I found house easy it is to cook gormeh sabzi in the instant pot, I decided to prepare this Persian split pea stew in the instant, as well.
About Khoresh Gheymeh
Gheimeh literally translates as ‘finely chopped’ and khoresh translates to ‘stew.’ In most Persian stews, the meat used is lamb shank or beef. The chunks of meat can be large or small. But for khoresh gheymeh, the stew meat is cut smaller, about 1-inch cubes or less. Some options for the meat is to cut up London broil, chuck roast, or eye of round.
The tomato based stew is more on the sour side because of the dried limes, and spiced with turmeric and a touch of cinnamon. Most Persian stews feature a vegetable, but this stew does not. Instead the stew includes yellow split peas and is topped with fried potatoes.
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About Limoo Omani (dried Persian limes)
If you are new to middle eastern cooking, then an introduction to dried limes is a must. These little brownish-black balls might not look appetizing, but their flavor packs a powerful punch. Limoo Omani is a very common ingredient in Persian stews. Persians love the many profiles of sour, using sour grapes, sour plums and even lemon juice.
But these dried limes offer more depth of flavor, besides the puckering taste of lime juice. The entire dried lime is cooked in stews, where it softens and steeps it’s flavor into the dish. You can chop the dried limes first before adding them to the stew, or you can pierce the limes all over and keep them whole. As they cook and soften, you need to press them flat, to let the stew’s juices swim through lime.
Limoo Omani is also available crushed in powder form. The entire dried lime, seeds and all are pulverized. It is just another way to get the dried lime flavor when you just want a pinch. If you cannot find limoo omani whole or grounded, you can substitute with lemon juice. The flavor won’t be exactly the same, but it is a fair substitute in this dish.
About yellow split peas
Most people here in the west know split peas to be green. But in Iran and the middle east, they commonly use the yellow split peas. Known in farsi as lapeh dir paz, it translates to ‘long cooking split peas.’ And as the Persian name suggests, it takes some time for the yellow split peas to cook.
Unlike the green variety, these yellow split peas hold their shape when cooked. If they turn to mush, you cooked it for too long. They are high in protein and fiber, while low in carbohydrates, making them a great protein source for vegans and those following a low carb diet.
How to make khoresh gheymeh in the instant pot
Because this Persian split pea stew does not have any other vegetables in the recipe, it makes a great candidate to be created in the Instant Pot. And after creating Ash Reshteh in the instant pot, which is a Persian soup filled with beans, I knew the yellow split peas would cook beautifully, as well. The only trick is cooking the stew in two parts, so that the stew meat is tender and the split peas are not mushy.
The first part of the instant pot cooking process requires sautéing the onions and browning the stew meat. The instant pot does not get as hot as my pan over the stove, but it does an adequate job. Once browned, you add the beef broth, chopped tomatoes and tomato paste and cook it under pressure using the meat/stew setting for 20 minutes.
The second part of the cooking process is for the yellow split peas. Once the pot has decompressed and released the steam, add a touch of cinnamon and the washed yellow split peas. You do not need to precook the yellow split peas. Set the instant pot to manual pressure for 15 minutes and release the steam manually when done cooking.
As my video shows you, the stew comes out perfect and ready to eat – all in about 1 hour instead of 3 or 4. Not bad, instant pot, not bad!
How to serve Khoresh Gheymeh
My favorite part of the khoresh gheymeh are the potatoes! Traditionally, the stew is topped with homemade fried potatoes. They can be cubed or cut like french fries. But because we are using the instant pot, I wanted to keep this dish as simple as possible without skimping on flavor or tradition.
So I topped this instant pot khoresh gheymeh with premade shoestring potatoes. They can be found in the snack aisle with the canned potato chips, or you can buy them here on Amazon. These babies are addicting and you’ll probably use more than the 1-2 cups I suggested in the recipe! They are crunchy and give great potato flavor to this hearty stew.
Of course, like other Persian stews, this yellow split pea stew is not served alone. It is served on a bed of fluffy basmati rice. I have yet to prepare basmati rice in the instant pot, but I know it is possible. So if you have an extra pot insert, feel free to prepare it that way!
About Khoresh Gheymeh Bademjoon
The tomato base for khoresh gheymeh is the same base used for eggplant stew, khoresh bademjoon. Many people, including myself, prepare khoresh bademjoon with yellow split peas, as well. So feel free to fry up the eggplant and place it on top of the stew, instead of the potatoes. I’m a huge eggplant lover and love how the flavors mingle together in this stew.
- 2 lb beef stew meat
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp all purpose flour
- 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion
- 3 cups beef broth
- 2 TBS tomato paste
- 7 oz dried yellow split peas
- 3-4 dried limes, pierced with knife
- 14 oz canned diced tomatoes
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1-2 cups shoestring potatoes
- Peel and finely chop onion.
- In a large bowl mix together meat, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp turmeric and flour until meat is coated evenly. Set aside.
- Press the “Sauté” function key on your 6 or 8-quart Instant Pot. Select "More" temperature with the “Adjust” key.
- When Instant Pot displays “Hot” add olive oil.
- When oil is hot, add chopped onions and sauté until onions start to brown.
- Season onions with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp turmeric and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in reserved stew meat and brown meat all over.
- When meat is browned, add beef broth.
- Using a wooden spoon, scrape bottom of pot to remove browned bits.
- Stir in tomato paste until combined.
- Stir in diced tomatoes.
- Carefully pierce dried limes with a sharp knife several times.
- If you like your stew more on the sour lemony side, add up to 5 dried limes. If you don't know how you like it, start with three. You can add lemon juice later to adjust the flavor to your preference.
- Place the lid on your instant pot, turn the vent to seal and set on meat/stew for 20 minutes.
- Once the timer goes off and the stew is cooked, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes and then release the remaining pressure manually. You can also let all the pressure release naturally if you have time.
- Using a spoon, press limes flat to remove air and let the dried limes sink into the stew.
- Stir in cinnamon.
- Rinse split peas and drain. Add split peas to the stew.
- Close lid of instant pot and seal. Set instant pot to manual (or pressure cook on newer models) set to high pressure for 15 minutes. Very carefully release the pressure manually.
- If stew is thick, stir in 1 cup of water.
- Transfer stew to serving dish and top with shoestring potatoes.
- You can also peel and chop 1 large russet potato. Once fried crisp, you can use these potatoes to top your stew.
- Serve stew with steamy basmati rice.
For gluten free option, use rice flour instead of regular flour or omit altogether.
You can also fry up or sauté chopped potatoes and use them instead of the prepackaged shoestring potatoes.
If you can't find dried Persian limes in whole or powdered form, you can use lemon juice instead.
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Serving Size:1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 351Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 112mgSodium: 912mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 5gSugar: 4gProtein: 42g