Bozbash (Slightly sour Armenian soup)
The name of this dish was first mentioned in 1883 by Mirza ‘Ali Akbar Khan Aashpazbashi the head cook at the Persian court of Naser-al-din Shah in his cookbook Sofreh At’ameh’. Different variants of this thick and hearty soup can be found in Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Armenia. While my Armenian version is rather cooler in nature and therefore fits into summer or Indian summer, the Iranian version Abgousht Bozbash, on the other hand, fits on very cold days since it contains many warming ingredients: lamb, turmeric, cinnamon etc.
For Armenian Bozbash you will need:
500 g of diced beef
1 chopped onion
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 sliced bell pepper
2 teaspoons of dried sweet pepper
a few green beans, cut into pieces
1 can of chickpeas (optional)
3 potatoes cut into large chunks
1 chopped garlic clove
6 tablespoons of tomato puree
a handful of Li hing mui (Chinese sour plums) or a couple of pitted Japanese pickled plums Umeboshi (my Armenian friend uses lavash-like sheets made of pureed and sun-dried sour plums. It is called tklapi and it completely melts in the soup.)
½ teaspoon of cumin,½ teaspoon of coriander
fresh coriander, parsley or mint for garnish
salt and black pepper to taste
First, cut the beef into cubes or as you can see in the featured photo into larger pieces. I prefer the latter option. My kids like this soup very much except for the beef. I’m glad when dinner takes place calmly, without hunting the pieces of meat from the soup and putting them on the daddy’s plate. In the larger pot (or crockpot) brown the meat on all sides, add water (approx. 3/4 of a litre) and let it simmer until the meat is tender and falls apart. If using a crockpot I usually let it run overnight or at least 5 hours.
In another pot sauté the onions, peppers, garlic and green beans together with dried pepper powder and other spices (cumin, coriander) until soft. Be careful, it’s easy to burn the pepper powder. Remove the meat from its broth and add it to the veggies. Next add the potatoes, garlic, tomato puree, chickpeas and strained broth. Cook covered on the mild flame until the potatoes are soft. Add sour plums, salt and pepper and serve it sprinkled with the fresh herbs.
Sour plums & Umeboshi
Plums are cold in nature and have a sweet and sour taste. They have a beneficial effect on the liver, they are a traditional remedy for diseases of a hot nature, used in diabetes, liver cirrhosis or chronic constipation. Japanese plums ume are acidic and salty and are useful for a variety of digestive disorders.
If you are interested in an Iranian version I warmly recommend you to visit a delicious food blog
Turmeric & Saffron
The photo is owned by Azita Mehran, Turmeric & Saffron.
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