On a personal note, I am very passionate about recreating old and forgotten recipes and have a deep desire to bring them back to life, I decided to try out one of the recipes and among the many recipes listed in the book I came across a simple vegetarian barley soup with spinach and cilantro. I would think a warm bowl of barley soup would have appealed to the Safavid royal court as well as the working class people especially in the cold days of winter. I have written two other barley recipes in the past, Soup-e Jo and Ash-e Jo and this recipe would be a great addition to my barley recipes. I used this brief and loose ash recipe with vague directions and converted it into a usable recipe and I'm delighted to share it with you all. I tried to stay true to the original recipe and keep it as authentic as possible while coming up with my own measurements and proportions. Adding lime juice, butter/olive oil to the ash is simply a personal preference and you may skip it if you like.
Ash-e Jo - Barley Soup with Spinach and Cilantro
1 cup barley
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup chopped spinach
A handful of almonds
Salt and pepper
Fresh squeezed lime juice *optional
Butter/olive oil *optional
- Place the raw almonds in a small bowl, cover with boiling water, let sit for a few minutes, remove the skins and let the almonds dry completely. You can use a food processor or a mortar and pestle to grind the almonds. Set aside.
- Rinse barley under cool running water, drain and place in a saucepan. Cover the barley with a couple of inches of water, bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat, add 1/2 teaspoon salt. cover partially and simmer for 45 minutes or until tender.
- Add the chopped cilantro, spinach and ground almonds. Add more water if needed. Simmer on low heat for another 10-15 minutes.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of butter or olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, stir well, taste and adjust the seasoning.
Serve the ash in individual soup bowls and drizzle each serving with a generous squeeze of lime juice.