In Iranian/Persian culture, noodles (reshteh) are symbolic of new beginnings in life. In the old times, it was believed that noodles could bring good fortune and make new endeavors successful. Traditionally,
one of the dishes served at Naw-Rúz (Persian New Year) is Reshteh Polo (noodle rice), and, the other noodle dish is Ásh’e Reshteh (literally, soup with noodles or translated, herb noodles soup) served at celebrations leading to Naw-Rúz.
On another traditional occasion, ásh’e reshteh is served three days after loved ones have gone away on a trip or have moved away.
It is believed that by eating noodles they are sending-off good wishes and luck for their journey. Nowadays, it is served at the bon voyage parties (I like it better!).
Three years ago, I introduced a Persian herb soup, ásh. This ásh’e reshteh is an elaborate version, with more beans and in a starring role, noodles. It is twelve days to Naw-Rúz, and this recipe should come in handy for all upcoming celebrations.
Ásh'e Reshteh • آش رشته • Herb Noodles Soup
Recipe by: Fae’s Twist & Tango (fae-magazine.com)
To make from scratch, soak the beans a day before
• 90 g/ ½ cup dried garbanzo beans
• 72 g/ ½ cup dried kidney beans
Or, for a quick preparations, canned beans may be used… drained and rinsed before use.
Canned beans come in approximately net weight 440 g/16 oz per can.
For this recipe, 2 cans each of garbanzo and kidney beans will be needed.
(Recommended… if time allows, for better digestion, pinch the skin off each garbanzo bean, canned or soaked & cooked.)
• 2 packages of 283 g/10 oz frozen Kadbanou Sabzi Ash (spinach, parsley, cilantro, chives, mint, garlic) or any brand frozen ásh herb mix
-Or- if using fresh:
• 5 cups parsley finely chopped
• 5 cups cilantro semi-finely chopped
• 2 cups garlic chives -or- scallions or leek finely chopped
• 2 cups spinach finely chopped
• 1 tsp dried mint flakes
• 18 g/ 6 Tbsp dried dill weed
• 40 g/ 1.5 oz fresh cilantro, additional
• 142 g/ 5 oz fresh baby spinach, additional
• 2 cloves garlic, crushed
• 112 g/ 1 cup dried lentils
• 1 heaping Tbsp caramelized onion (may be used from ones made for garnish)
Seasonings for the soup
• 2 tsp turmeric
• 3½ tsp salt
• ½ tsp ground black pepper -or- more for spicier!
• 14+ cups ‘hot’ water, divided (broth or stock may be used)
For the garnish
• 680 g/ 2 large onions, sliced thinly in crescent
• ½ cup vegetable oil
• 1 ~ 2 Tbsp dried mint flakes
• 6 cloves garlic, thinly slivered
♦♦ If using frozen prepared herbs and canned beans:
First cook the lentils, see  below, and have them ready. In a large pot, add frozen herbs, dill, cilantro, spinach, crushed garlic, cooked lentils, caramelized onion, drained/rinsed beans, seasonings, noodles, 12 cups water and bring to boil. Lower the heat to medium (or tad lower) and cook for 30 minutes, stirring a few times. While the soup is cooking, prepare the garnish if desired.
Directions for making from scratch or semi-scratch…
◊ Day before (24 hours before): In a medium sized bowl, soak garbanzo and kidney beans with water almost to rim for 24 hours. Beans will reconstitute to almost 3 times! If possible, refresh the water one time.
◊ If using fresh herbs: Strip, wash and drain the herbs a day before or before starting to cook. On the day, food-processor may be used to chop the herbs and have them ready.
◊ On the day: Drain the beans and place them in a 5 QT (20 cups) pot. Add ample tap water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse the beans with cold water. (Process of draining after first boil helps keep beans from causing digestion problem/gas for some.) Remove any loose skins seen. Also, skins are loose on the garbanzo beans, if time allows, pinch the skins off each garbanzo bean (Although the skins are good source of fiber, garbanzo beans are smoother to the bite without the skin.) .
◊ Rinse the pot and return the beans back to the pot. Add all the ‘seasoning’, 5 cups of ‘hot’ water and let it simmer on medium-low heat for 30 minutes.
◊ While beans are cooking… Prepare the garnish: In a large, deep fry-pan, add ½ cup oil and heat on between medium to medium-high heat. Add sliced onions and caramelize them to golden all over, stirring as often as possible for even finish. Drain in a large sieve with a bowl under. Place caramelized onion in a heat-proof small dish and set aside. Use from this oil to fry the garlic.
◊  Also, while beans and onions are cooking: In a medium sauce pan, add lentils and 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes (skim any foams to avoid overflow), drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.
◊ For the garnish: In a small saucepan, on medium-high heat, add 1 Tbsp oil from frying the onions. Add slivered garlic and watch carefully. In several seconds, at first indication of color change (do not let it burn to bitterness), remove sauce pan from heat and quickly scoop garlic strips from oil into a heat safe small bowl. Garlic strips should be semi-crispy. While the oil is hot in the saucepan (off the heat) add dried mint, swirl the saucepan and let sizzle. Empty (with the oil) into a heat safe small bowl and set aside. (If it looks like it is still cooking in the bowl, place the bowl in shallow, cold water to drop the temperature and keep from burning.)
◊ After the beans have been cooking for 30 minutes, add frozen herbs (or freshly prepared), dill, additional fresh cilantro, crushed garlic, 1 heaping Tbsp caramelized onion, another 5 cups ‘hot’ water, stir and let simmer for 5 minutes.
◊ Add additional fresh spinach, break noodles in half and add sparingly, stir and simmer
for 30 minutes. Add parboiled lentils and 1 cup of ‘hot’ water, if needed, at the first 10 minutes point and stir. Add another 1 cup ‘hot’ water, if need, at the second 10 minutes point and stir. After 30 minutes, test if noodles are ready. If needed, add more ‘hot’ water. Adjust the seasoning if needed. Check the beans to see if cooked. Simmer until beans are tender.
◊ It may be served… A) as is with whey, yogurt and all garnishes on the side, B) garnished with dollops of whey or yogurt, and topped with garnishes, or C) ash’e reshteh mixed with 1 Tbsp of whey to 1 large ladle, decoratively garnished with caramelized onion, crispy garlic and fried mint. (See photos below.)
◊ Option: Not in the photos, but for big festivities, after ash’e reshteh is mixed with whey/kashk, the top is elaborately decorated/spooned with khoresh’e gheimeh /yellow split pea stew (without fried potatoes or eggplant), before being garnished with caramelized onions, crispy garlic and fried mint.
~ Noushe jan! • نوش جان ~
Prepare all ingredients before assembling the soup…
A) Ash’e reshteh may be enjoyed as is without any garnish…
B) Ash’e reshteh may be garnished with dollops of whey or yogurt, and caramelized onion, crispy garlic and fried mint…
C) Most common and traditional way ash’e reshteh is served is, with kashk mixed-in and garnished on top with caramelized onion, crispy garlic and fried mint.
So, what’s cooking in your kitchen?