This traditional Persian breakfast dish is made with lentils slow-cooked with fresh aromatics and spices to create a stunning wholesome dish.

Adasi is a wholesome vegan dish, commonly eaten for breakfast in Iran. It is made with green lentils, onions and spices and is often described as a soup by Persians. I personally consider it closer to the dal recipes from the Indian sub-continent but to compromise between the two I have called it a stew. Some add cubed potatoes to make it heartier but the version below excludes, but feel free to add them after step 1 below.

It is often topped with fried onions and a ground spice called Golpar or Persian Hogweed or Angelica.

Top tip: I cook this recipe  the day before I want to eat it as the flavours intensify overnight. The recipe below yields a big batch (up to 8 people) and lasts up to 5 days if refrigerated, so it is a great dish to make and dip in and out of for various meals during a working week.

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 1hr 15 mins
Course: Soup / Starter

For the Adasi
• 400 g dried green lentils (washed and soaked in water for 2 hours)
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 1 large brown onion (finely diced)
• 1 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
• 1 tsp turmeric
• 1 tsp ground cumin
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• 2 tbsp tomato purée
• 1.2 litres vegetable stock
• Juice of 1 lime
• 1 bay leaf
• Salt and pepper (to taste)

For the garnish
• 1 large brown onion (finely sliced)
• Vegetable oil (to fry the onions)
• Ground golpar (Persian hogweed - optional)
• Olive oil (to drizzle on top)

To make:
1) Place a large saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add olive oil and heat until it glistens. Then add onions and cook, stirring regularly until they start to turn golden.
2) Add garlic and ginger paste, followed by turmeric, ground cumin, cinnamon and stir until evenly distributed into the onion mixture. Then stir in tomato purée.
3) Drain and add in pre-soaked lentils and stir until evenly mixed with the onion mixture.
4) Pour in the stock, lime juice and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Then turn the heat down, put the lid of the saucepan on and let the Adasi simmer for approximately an hour or until the lentils are tender.
5) Whilst the Adasi is cooking, fry finely sliced onion in vegetable oil over a high-medium heat until crispy.
6) When the Adasi is cooked, take a stick blender and blitz some of the lentil mixture to thicken (about 1/3). Taste and season as required with salt and pepper (stock usually has salt in it so further salt may not be necessary). Squeeze some more lime juice if desired. Then ladle into a bowl, top with the crispy onions, a sprinkling of ground golpar and a drizzle of olive oil.

Originally created by Mersedeh Prewer for Saffron and Herbs.
November 02, 2022