Ab-Goosht

by My Persian Kitchen on December 23, 2010

I could have not possibly written about Iranian winters spent under a Korsi and not mentioned one of the most beloved winter dishes Ab-goosht, which literally translated means meat water.  I have very fond memories of sitting under the Korsi and eating Ab-goosht while outside it snowed.  There are a few different ways in which this dish is spelled: Ab-goosht, Abgoosht, or Abgousht. Some also refer to this dish as Dizi after the traditional dish in which it is made. There are two components to this dish one being a soup or broth and the other a paste made with the ingredients that the meat is cooked with.  This is a delicious meal even though appearance wise it might not be too pleasing to the eye. But once you have taken a sip of the soup and a bite of the pureed meat, you will see why every Iranian loves ab-goosht.

This dish by all means is not meant to be fancy, in fact, it is what people refer to as peasant food. But to me is nothing short of spectacular and delicious.  I stopped by one of my local Persian grocery stores, Shayan International Market, last week to see if they had a Goosht Koob, a meat masher.  I was fortunate to pick up the very last one left! Mr. Vafakhah rang me up and looked at the masher and then looked at me and asked:

“Who are you planning on beating up with this?”

The smarty pants that I am I could not contain myself, especially after seeing the twinkle in his eye as he asked, I promptly replied:

“My husband!”

We had ourselves a good laugh and got talking about Ab-goosht and since I had been asking around what type of meat people use for their abgoosht he ended up walking me to butcher section of the store and personally helped me pick the perfect cut of meat for this recipe. As I was standing waiting for my meat a lovely lady, Mrs. Borj, joined in our conversation after I inquired what type of meat she uses. The nature of my concern was frankly the smell of lamb. She gave me a very good advice as far as cooking lamb goes. She said to make sure to skim the foam created by the lamb as it cooks.

Now onto the recipe! There are a few variations to this dish and today’s recipe is the first and most simplistic form of it.

2 lamb shanks
4 lamb necks
2 medium onions
1/2 cup chickpeas, soaked over night
1/2 cup white beans, soaked over night
1 tsp turmeric
2 Persian limes
2 tbsp tomato paste
4 tomatoes
3 potatoes
2 tsp cinnamon
salt & pepper

Wash and pat dry meat. Season with salt and pepper.

Rough chop onions and place in a heavy pot.

Add meat on top.

Make a hole in the Persian Limes and add to the pot along with the beans. Add turmeric, cinnamon, and 9 cups of water. Cover and cook on medium for 2 hours. If you forgot to soak your beans overnight see this tutorial on How to Quick Soak Beans.

During this time period make sure to check the pot and remove any foam that might surface. I was fortunate there was no foam on mine.

Add tomato paste and mix well. Then add fresh tomatoes.

Add potatoes and adjust seasoning.  You will need a good amount of salt due to the beans and potatoes.  Cover and cook everything for another hour.

Once done, place a colander over a bowl. Remove meat and place in colander.  Separate meat from the bones and discard bones. Some like to remove the morrow from the bones and add it to the soup or meat. Up to you if you want to do that or not!

Empty the content of the pot in the colander.

Return the broth to the pot and adjust seasoning if needed.  With the meat masher mash meat, beans, potatoes, and tomatoes.

This is how your end product should look like once the solids have been mashed. Taste for seasoning and add more if needed.

The mashed meat and soup are served separately.

The soup is eaten first. To kick up the soup a notch many put a few pieces of Persian bread in it. It’s simply divine!

The mashed meat is enjoyed with Sabzi, Persian herbs, fresh lime, and bread.

I have to confess that the Sous Chef didn’t particularly care for this dish. I secretly rejoiced because this meant that I was going to have the leftovers all to myself! I enjoyed every bite of it!!!

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{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Amarnath December 23, 2010 at 10:08 am

Hi again….
I have some shanks lying in the freezer, so I wondered whether one can make this with just shanks? What was the total weight of meat you used?

Mahnaz December 23, 2010 at 10:24 am

Thank you for describing this dish so beautiful. This dish has been treated so badly by many since they don’t like the name!
For getting rid of the smell of lamb, add a whole onion to the pot, and remove it after an hour or so, the onion will absorb the smell of raw meat.
Enjoy your left over, the mashed meat is very good for breakfast with sangak bread.

My Persian Kitchen December 23, 2010 at 10:49 am

@ Mahnaz jan, I completely agree that this dish gets a bad rap for being such simplistic peasant food. But as I said in my post, I love it and it’s nothing short of awesome! I can’t help by think about its roots and how it actually came about it. Were they trying to make two meals out of it? Why mash the meat and not eat the ingredients whole?! And oh my the beauty that lays in mashing it in a Dizi… so much to say about it!

@ Armanath, yes you can definitely use just shanks. I would use 4 them. To be honest, I don’t remember the weight as I was not going by weight, I was going by quantity. sorry!

Zahra December 23, 2010 at 11:47 am

I confess that I always really disliked ab-goosht, and my father used to make it at least twice a month. And the worst part was that I then had goosht-e koobideh sandwiches for a week afterwards. The only part I liked about the sandwiches was the Persian pickles and the lettuce and tomato. I used to scrape of the goosht-e koobideh and eat the bread with the veggies. :) Now I did like the broth with the ripped up pieces of bread added to it — I think we called it “teeleed.” Which really just means to rip up something, right?

My Persian Kitchen December 23, 2010 at 12:38 pm

Zahra, so this is really funny, I LOVED that same exact sandwich that you just described! Yes, “Teeleet” rocks!!! especially with toasted sangak bread so it’s nice and crunchy! Oh YUM!

Mrs. Itazura December 23, 2010 at 6:03 pm

Oh wow, this sounds so good. I will definitely have to make this, hubby will love it!

My Persian Kitchen December 23, 2010 at 6:16 pm

Mrs. Itazura. go for it and report back!!!!

Katie December 25, 2010 at 10:33 pm

Ahhh, abgusht! The first time I had this was straight after I’d been hiking north of Tehran. Hearty peasant food was just the thing! It’s a family favourite now, although I’ve been making it with kangaroo rather than lamb a local twist ;)

shohreh December 29, 2010 at 7:41 pm

Thank you, this brought back a lovely memory of when I went back to Tehran after years of being away, working as a young assistant on an international project. One lunch time I walked out to get something to eat with friends but couldn’t get too far. The sight, the smell allured me to the construction workers sitting on the bare ground by the side of the street in a circle with a blackened dizzy on the wood fire. Handkerchief laid out with sheets of Sangak bread nestling the peeled white onions like a lotus in front of each man. The broth, Abgousht bubbling over with its aroma, men’s laughters and enjoyment while eating with their bare hands was too inviting to ignore. I wanted so much to join them on the dirt floor and taste that dizzie but alas, I was dragged away by embarrassed friends. With strange looks coming my way I knew I was an intruder at their feast.

My Persian Kitchen December 29, 2010 at 8:33 pm

Shohreh, thanks so much for sharing your Abgoosht story!! Yes, the smell of it is indeed deliciously inviting!

simbelmyne January 4, 2011 at 12:23 am

i adore abgoosht, no matter how much it’s village food :).
my mother-in-law cooks it with some beef instead of lamb, for me it’s even more tasty.

My Persian Kitchen January 4, 2011 at 10:54 am

Simbelmyne, I totally agree abgoosht rocks! I think my next venture with abgoosht is going to be with beef. :)

indra January 14, 2011 at 11:10 am

Hi, this is a lovely website. Infact I came across this when I got inspired by visiting the same Shayan market on PCH and wanted to try some persian foods. I bought Sumac from the store last week and was searching for good recipes with it. I am sure going to try this dish with chicken maybe and being an Indian i luv to try new dishes.
Do check my blog- http://www.scribblingpad.com if u like Healthy food and diet tips. Between lovely pics in ur blog and all the best.

My Persian Kitchen January 14, 2011 at 10:51 pm

Indra, thanks for your kind words. I will definitely check out your website!

Julia March 10, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Thanks Sanam Jan,
Abgousht is one of my family’s fav. dishes specially in winter time.
I add more tomato paste and no fresh tomatos. I also donot like to make teeleet because I like to see what I eat :)
we eat the dis just like a sopu-stew :)
Thank you,
Julia

Soozzi April 23, 2011 at 10:42 pm

I have a big pot of ab-gusht simmering on my stove as I write. The one place I come to check if I have all the “authentic” ingredients to feed my Persian husband is here!

I make it with lamb shanks (more flavour with bones). We have some of the best lamb in Australia. Smell? Never! Good lamb shouldn’t smell. It does start to smell a bit as it goes from lamb to hoggett to mutton.

I’ll just add a little water and you’re all invited to our house for dinner!

Rebecca May 2, 2011 at 12:28 am

My Iranian neighbor, Payam, and I play backgammon almost every night, and we *always* wind up talking food. He has taught me a lot about Persian cooking, and tonight he happened to mention this dish and gave me all the ingredients but didn’t have the quantities. Yours was the first recipe in the search that came up. AWESOME, and thank you! I always say that it doesn’t much matter what it looks like at the end, as long as it tastes good. I’m going to make this for sure. Can bone-in lamb stew meat (shoulder or leg) be used instead of shank and necks? Oh, and do you happen to have a recipe for Ash? My husband and I just had some at a place here in Houston, and it was divine! I want to learn to make it too. I love your website, as it has been a big help to me while learning too cook Persian cuisine.

modabber May 15, 2011 at 12:14 pm

ab-goosht

Mark June 6, 2011 at 4:46 am

Hello,
Thank you very much for this recipe! Just wondering as well, how long will this dish last in the fridge? I want to make it a couple days earlier when I have the time for a few guests =)

My Persian Kitchen June 7, 2011 at 11:32 am

Mark, it’ll last for a few days. Making it a couple of days in advance is perfectly fine!

Ahluuul July 3, 2011 at 3:20 am

Thank you My Persian Kitchen for all these lovely Persian recipes (gormeh sabzi and gameh khorest being my favourites)! I enjoy reading about your experimentations and hijinks with Sous Chef :)

I’m looking for a recipe, and I’m not sure what it’s called, it is similar to Ab Goost and is made with chicken drumsticks and chickpeas, potatoes and tomatoes . Instead of putting it through a masher after separating the ‘soup’ part, my friends would each mash it to their individual taste on their own plates. The soup part would have torn up pitta bread immersed and this would be eaten first. They were from Tabriz area (Rezaiyeh) if this helps…Do you know this one? And if so, can you post a recipe.

And in addition to the above comments about onions/lamb etc, my Persian friends wouldn’t eat lamb from here (Australia) due to the strong ‘lamby’ taste. They said that due to Australian lambs having no tails, this caused the fat to go through the meat giving it (in their opinion) an unpleasant flavour. They said lambs in Iran have big fat tails which stored the fat and Iranian lamb did not have that ‘lamby’ flavour. Here, they preferred to use only veal in cooking for a mild and fine flavour. Even then it was always marinated in grated onion overnight and rinsed before cooking.

Mohsen July 26, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Growing up in Iran, I remember coming home from school only to find out my mom had prepared abgoosht which was my dad’s favorite and I absolutely hated it. I just didn’t consider it real food! I wanted polo with khoresht but to my horror on those certain days abgoosht was our lunch. Now, many many years later and living thousands of miles away from Iran, I realize what I missed back then. Even thou I know how to cook Iranian food and I do a very good job cooking it, I give just about anything to have a bowl of mom’s abgoosht, some sangak bread and homemade torshi…

Mina August 16, 2011 at 1:18 am

Hi Sanam Jan,
I just learned about your website, as I was surfing the web trying to find a good recipe for Abgousht. I am a software engineer and never liked cooking up until a year ago. I started with rice and some easier Perisan foods till I started to challenge myself to something difficult and PURE Persian, yes Abgousht came to my mind. As a beginner, I had no problem following your perfect instruction. You had described it very well. Thank you. I just had one simple problem, didn’t have any meat masher in the house. I started looking around and since I did not find any bottle or things like that I ended up using the bottom of a glass of water to start mashing the meat!!!! :) I know I’m still laughing at myself, oh well although it didn’t do a good job, it was better than what I had expected. Something to laugh every time I think of it. At the end, I invited my sister and a friend to come by and test my first time ever home made Abgousht, what a shock it was for my sister. Overall, it was so tasty that I could not believe it myself, from IT to Abgousht. I also added an arabic powder which smelled so good and brought a lot of nice aroma to it. Cheers to you for walking me through this delicious food which was forbidden to be cooked in our house, when I was a kid. None of the siblings and/or my father liked it. I could not bear looking at it and now I cook it and enjoy eating it. what a dramatic change! CHANGE is good. :) :)

My Persian Kitchen August 18, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Mina, you go girl!!! I am so happy to hear that you have been cooking Persian food!!! I am so glad that I could provide some assistance in your culinary adventure!!!!!!!!!!

Riyaz September 2, 2011 at 3:22 am

I am interested to know about the infulance of persia over the kashmiri cusines . May please tell me more about the topic

My Persian Kitchen September 2, 2011 at 10:07 am

@ Riyaz, I am not familiar with the subject matter. Maybe some of the readers know about it.

Janette November 11, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Thank you – this is great and I love the pictures, makes it so much easier for a rookie like me. I want to make this to surprise my dad :)) but I’m allergic to lamb. Can you tell me what kind of beef I can replace it with (what cut) and how much. Thank you so much.

My Persian Kitchen November 11, 2011 at 10:11 pm

Janette, you can use beef or veal. :)

sharon November 30, 2011 at 5:48 am

One of the best recipes I’ve seen online with regards photos and text. Well done.

Kimberly February 5, 2012 at 9:26 pm

My Persian boyfriend just loves this and this weekend I finally mastered this recipe. I made a bit too much and have leftovers. Is it possible to freeze it and if not how long will it keep. Thanks for all the amazing recipes. I love cooking Persian food and your site makes things so much easier.

My Persian Kitchen February 6, 2012 at 11:08 am

Kimberly, I am happy to be of help!!! Yes, you can definitely freeze your leftovers and enjoy them later!

amina February 19, 2012 at 2:20 pm

hey layla,
I cooked abgoosht today, following ure recipe nd it turned out exactly how it should nd i loved it..we have almost same dish but its called yakhni nd we dont swash the meat or add tomatoes but everything else is same…
thanks for ure good instructions nd my husband loved it nd said it was exactly like backhome…thnx u the best!!!!

Karen March 31, 2012 at 3:43 pm

I make this without meat because my husband is a vegetarian. It still taste great and yes my husband loves the sandwich also. Thanks for all these great recipes. My favorite so far is the mushroom stew.

KARIMAH May 24, 2012 at 12:12 am

as salaam alaikum, barak allah feeki sistar for sharing these recipes, great fotos mashallah, I’ll be trying this

Linda Lucy S July 18, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Ob-gusht / Ab-gusht. Yummy.
A Persian stew my Armenian family ate at home. I remember that my dad LOVED this stew, but I don’t recall it being served separately like in this recipe. I think I might make this one, and as someone commented, she makes it with BEEF and not with lamb. Perhaps I’ll try with combo of Lamb Shank and large pieces of chuck (beef). I told my Vegetarian friends that I’m sure it can be made W/O meat and it would be very tasty vegan style too!

My Persian Kitchen July 27, 2012 at 11:56 am

Linda, you can make it with either. I have been wanting to make a vegetarian version. I will give it a try this coming winter!!

Venuse October 17, 2012 at 7:17 pm

Ms. Sanam,
I have been using your website for about a year and I never had the chance to say how thankful I am for this AMAZING website. Not only the recipes are FANTASTIC, but the pictures that accompany each step is so hard to find. I mean I literally cook by having my laptop in the kitchen and look at your pictures with the short explanation after each picture. Your website rocks my world and you do to. You are truly talented. I am persian my self but my mom always cooked persian and I made the non persian dishes. I got married last year and had to utilize your website a lot since I did not cook much authentic persian food. Now I do and I am so happy. God bless you. sending you tons of hugs and love.

Banafsheh March 27, 2013 at 2:07 pm

Thank you so much for the recipe, I am pregnant and I am craving Abgousht so bad, my mom and mom-in-laws are both in Iran at the moment and I can not stand the taste of any non-Iranian food at this time so I constantly have to search Iranian food recipes online to make them at home. I can’t wait for the long weekend ( I’m in Canada) to make the Abgoush on Friday. Wish me luck, hope it turns out good :)
thank you again…

Eiman August 28, 2013 at 7:18 pm

Thanks for this! I’m developing my own paleo ish version of aub goosht for my blog, persianpaleo.com, and I came across your site. I had never seen this site before but now I’ll definitely visit regularly! I’m using Japanese sweet potato instead of white, and navy beans because they are allowed on the GAPS diet. Looking forward to reading more of your posts.

My Persian Kitchen August 29, 2013 at 10:44 am

Eiman, thank you for your comment. I will be visit your website for sure as my husband has been doing a Paleo diet in recent months!!!

Renaud May 26, 2014 at 3:40 am

Hello,

Thanks for this recipe.
I have had the chance to visit Iran a few weeks ago and tried Dizi there. The food in Iran is amazing but due to weight restriction (and a large rug), I could not bring a dizi mortar back.

Would you know if it is possible to buy a mortar online as the ones I found (spices ones) would not work quite.

Thank you for the recipe and keep the good work,

Renaud

Shahrom Bahi May 26, 2014 at 5:37 pm

In our home we did not separate and mash the goosht-e-khoobideh until it had already been leftovers. I noted that all of my mom’s friends served it this way too.

My Persian Kitchen May 31, 2014 at 10:59 am

Renaud, unfortunately, I have not idea where one could buy one outside of Iran. I would buy one myself if I knew!!!

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