Lamb, Barberry, Pistachio & Rose Stew (“Gheymeh Nessar”)


This recipe is one I found in Ariana Bundy’s “Pomegranates & Roses” cookbook. I am continually discovering new flavors and ideas in her cookbook, and highly recommend it. This recipe is similar to my Khoresh Gheimeh recipe, but omits the yellow split peas and instead uses barberries, rose water, and nuts.  The rose water and rose petals lend a unique, fragrant touch that you will seldom find in other international dishes. If you are looking to explore beyond the typical Persian dishes you might’ve tried in restaurants, I suggest adding this to your list.

  • 1 lb. boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 2 in. strips
  • 2 tbsp. safflower oil
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1.5 large white onions, sliced thinly
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 3/4 tsp. saffron, ground and dissolved in 6 tbsp. hot water
  • 3 tbsp. rose water
  • 1 cup dried barberries
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 3 tbsp. white sugar
  • 3 tbsp. slivered almonds
  • 3 tbsp. chopped pistachios
  • 3 tbsp. dried rose petals
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Soak barberries in cold water for 5 minutes and drain.
  2. In a skillet, sauté onions in oil until they begin to brown. Move onions into a large pot.
  3. In the same skillet, sear lamb in turmeric for one minute on each side (you don’t want the lamb to cook here).
  4. Add lamb to your large pot, along with chopped tomatoes, a twist of pepper, and 1/2 cup hot water.
  5. Cover and simmer on low heat for 50 minutes. Halfway through, add salt and tomato paste. Also add additional hot water here if needed.
  6. 5 minutes prior to removing from heat, add half of your saffron mixture, and rose water.
  7. Meanwhile, sauté barberries in a small pan with butter, sugar, and remaining saffron liquid. Only do this for less than 5 minutes, until barberries begin to plump up. Any longer and they will begin to burn.
  8. Remove stew from heat, and serve atop basmati rice (or ‘tah-dig‘).
  9. Garnish stew with barberries, pistachios, almonds, and scattered rose petals.



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