Koresh gamay is a tomato-based stew. Just before serving, spread a layer of shoestring potatoes or freshly made shoestring french fries on top of the koresh.
Servings: About 4
1 lb. chuck steak
1 onion, chopped
1 lg. can whole tomatoes
1/3 c. yellow split peas
2 T. oil
1 dried Oman lime or 1/2 fresh lime
2 t. turmeric
2 t. cinnamon
Step 1: Cut the meat into 1/2 inch cubes. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the meat and onion with some salt, and the cinnamon and turmeric.
Step 2: Chop the tomatoes into small bits, and add the tomatoes with their juice to the meat. Add a crushed Oman lemon (available at Middle Eastern specialty shops), or 1/2 of a fresh lime (use the skin too, but remove the seeds), and simmer 1/2 hour to 1 hour.
Step 3: Add the split peas and simmer until tender (30-40 minutes). Stir frequently and add water if it gets too thick; it should have the consistency of a very thick soup . Add a dash or two of tabasco sauce during the simmering step if you like some zip!
Sprinkle with shoestring potatoes before serving. Serve over chelo.
Recipe © Nura Amerson 1991
For several years, I’ve been making a vegetarian (actually, vegan!) version of koresh gamay, which is perfect for serving when I host gatherings. Since the beef is eliminated, I replace it with roasted eggplant and extra split peas. To prepare the eggplant, I peel it, cut it into strips, place in a baking pan, drizzle with oil, and roast until it is browned. (Jasmine offers another eggplant preparation method in her reflection below.)
Because my goal is usually to feed a crowd, I make a double or even triple recipe. If there are leftovers, they freeze well. Just make sure that if you’re serving thawed koresh, you actually make sure it is fully defrosted before presenting it to your guests. Otherwise, they might encounter a ball of ice at the center. (I speak from embarrassing experience!)
For the koresh in the photo, I topped it with oven-baked french fries. I’m usually not that ambitious and instead use potato chips (I’ve never been able to find shoestring potatoes outside Wisconsin). I also like to have some yogurt on the side. The sweetness of the tomatoes in the stew, the saltiness of the potato topping, and the tartness of the yogurt converge to produce some serious deliciousness!
To make it vegetarian, I substituted eggplant for meat. I cut it into cubes and fried it with the onion, cinnamon, and turmeric, just like the recipe says to do with the meat. Also, instead of chopping whole canned tomatoes into small bits, I just used diced tomatoes.
It turned out well! The split peas were still pretty firm, so I probably should have simmered them longer than 30 minutes or added more liquid.