Khoreshte Khalal

Khoreshte Khalal is a regional dish from the Kermanshah province in Iran. Usually it uses black zereshk or barberries which are commonly found in that region. They are smaller ,  slightly more robust  and taste slighty more sour  than red zereshk but as they are less easily sourced outside of the region, red zereshk can be substituted. Limu amani are whole dried limes which you will find in any Iranian grocery store and often in Indian grocery shops in the UK. See my notes on Za’faran and how to use it before starting this recipe. This recipe is completely gluten-free and suitable for coeliacs.

This is a special dish, often served to guests and a much guarded secret for some reason! I’ve been unable to find other recipes for it but learnt this from an expert Kermanshah cook first hand! It takes a few hours to make and is usually better served the following day but it’s well worth the wait. I hope you enjoy it.


  • 500 gr  lamb
  • 1 large onion
  • 3-4 limu amani ( persian dried limes)
  • 150 gr zereshk (red or black) or a good handful
  • 150 gr sliced khalal ( sliced almonds) or a good handful
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
  • salt
  • 2 cubes of  sugar or equivalent in granulated sugar
  • oil
  • 2 desert spoons of tomatoe purée
  • 1 cup za’faran infused water


  • dice the onion
  • cube the lamb removing the fat
  • Crush the limu ormani and remove the pips to avoid an unpleasant bitterness
  • prepare the za’faran infusion using sugar to grind.
  • Pick out the unwanted dried bits of stem and then wash and drain the zereshk  as they are likely quite dusty.


  1. Gently fry the chopped onion in a little oil  until it changes colour and when beginning to turn  golden add the turmeric and continue to stir. You may need to add a little more oil as the turmeric soaks up oil.
  2. Add the cubed lamb and continue to fry until the lamb changes colour
  3. Add the crushed limu amani. You will begin to smell the wonderful aroma of the limes. This takes a few minutes.
  4. Add a little water, a good pinch of  teaspoon of salt  and stir in
  5. Now add enough water to cover the meat and simmer on a low heat for approximately 1/2 an hour. You will need to hover over it and top up the water from time to time.
  6. After 30 minutes add the  tomatoe purée and a cube of sugar or equivalent and leave to simmer for over a low heat for  about an hour or so, adding more hot water if needed. The water should always just cover the meat.
  7. After about an hour take another pan, a small frying pan is ideal and heat it without adding any oil. Add the zereshk and cook off the excess water from their wash. You should see steam coming off from them and then they begin to change colour ( this is not obvious with black zereshk). Add a little good oil and then add the khalal and stir. Add the cup of za’faran infusion and allow to cook for about a minute.
  8. With this khoreshte you are aiming for a sweet and sour taste combined. You can alter the balance to suit your own preference.The colour of this khoreshte should be reddish brown.

Serve Khoreshte Khalal with naan and/or rice and salad, natural yogurt and a dish of sabzi khordan.

Nooshi joonet.  Enjoy.


One thought on “Khoreshte Khalal

  1. love your site… it comes across with a lot of care, passion and love of Persian food… keep it up and thank you

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