Khoresh-e-Karafs (Celery Stew)

Karafs is “celery” in Persian. Celery is not the most exciting vegetable. I can barely get my kids (let alone myself) to eat raw celery. But this Persian celery stew is definitely not “eww.” It is flavorful, tangy and delicious. Even my kids like this dish!

Like every Persian Khoresh (stew), this dish is traditionally made with meat. We replaced the meat with canned green jackfruit in brine (water and salt), which compliments this dish perfectly. If you have never cooked with jackfruit, give this recipe a try! You can find canned jackfruit almost anywhere. We have bought it at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Asian markets.

To add additional protein, we also included black-eyed peas in this recipe (at my request). My mom actually prefers to include red kidney beans, but I prefer black-eyed peas to give our food more variety. Feel free to use kidney beans in lieu of black-eyed peas, if preferred.

Persian Khoresh is served with Persian rice and tahdig. We hope you enjoy this recipe!

“My hope is to leave the world a little better than when I got here.” – Jim Henson

Ingredients

  • “Herbs”
    • 1 bunch cilantro
    • 1 bunch parsley
    • 1 bunch mint leaves
  • 1 celery bunch (including its leaves)
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 20 oz can green jackfruit in brine
    • Drained, washed, and squeezed dry using a kitchen towel or cheese cloth. You can remove or roughly chop the harder pieces.
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • Dash turmeric
  • 5 Tbsp. brewed saffron
  • 6 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 cup dry black-eyed peas (soaked in warm water for 1-2 hours before cooking)*
  • Cooking oil

*If you are limited on time, you can also use 15 oz canned beans.

Directions

  1. Remove celery leaves from the celery stalks. Trim down stems on parsley. Wash and clean the Herbs and celery leaves. Pat dry or use salad spinner. Finely chop the Herbs and celery leaves. You can also use a food processor.
  2. In a medium sauté pan on medium heat, add 1 Tbsp. cooking oil. Add the Herbs and celery leaves and sauté until soft (about 15 minutes). Set aside.
  3. Cut the celery stalks into 1/4 inch pieces.
  4. In a medium sauté pan on medium heat, add 1/2 Tbsp. cooking oil. Add celery and sauté until soft. Mix with the sautéed Herbs, and set aside.
  5. In a medium stockpot on medium heat, add 1 Tbsp. cooking oil. When hot, add the onion and sauté for 3-5 minutes.
  6. Add the garlic and sauté another 2 minutes.
  7. Add the jackfruit, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Sauté for 10 minutes.
  8. Add sautéed Herbs and celery, the black-eyed peas, and 2 cups water. Cover and cook on medium/low heat for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  9. Add the brewed saffron and lemon juice. Add more water as needed.* Add additional lemon juice to your liking. Cover and cook another 30-45 minutes until ingredients are well-blended and celery is tender.
  10. Serve with Persian rice. Noosh-e-Jaan! (Enjoy)

* This can vary, but I generally add 1/2 cup water.

SERVES 4-5 people