Khoresh-e-Karafs (Celery Stew)

Vegan Persian Food Celery Stew

Karafs is “celery” in Persian. Khoresh-e-Karafs is a celery stew that is flavorful, tangy and delicious. Even my kids like this dish! It is very similar to Khoresh-e-Ghormeh Sabzi as it is also made with cilantro and parsley. This dish, however, also has mint leaves.

Like every Persian Khoresh, 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 include legumes in this recipe. My mom prefers to include red kidney beans, but I prefer black-eyed peas to give our food more variety. Feel free to use whichever legume is 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 or kidney beans (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 legumes, 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

** Since posting this recipe, we have tried using tofu in lieu of jackfruit and it was fantastic

  1. Prepare tofu marinade:
    • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
    • 3 Tbsp brewed saffron
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
    • 2 Tbsp plain plant-based yogurt (we use Kitehill plain almond yogurt)
  2. Drain 15 oz package extra firm tofu and press for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Chop tofu into small cubes and toss in marinade.
  4. Marinate for 2-3 hours in the refrigerator.
  5. Fry tofu in 2 Tbsp grapeseed oil on medium/high heat heat until crispy and golden on all sides.
  6. Add the tofu to the Khoresh-e-Karafs before serving.