International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Ash-e Jow

Ash-e Jow (Persian barley bean soup)

(Persian barley bean soup)

Average: 4.2 (10 votes)

This thick soup, or ash, is chock full of nutrients and fiber. A mix of beans, lentils, barley and vegetables, ash-e jow is slow-simmered to make a rich, nourishing, rib-sticking dish. Eliminate the meat and use vegetable stock or water for a great vegetarian meal.

6 to 8 servings


  • Butter, ghee or oil -- 2 to 5 tablespoons
  • Lamb shank (optional) -- 1
  • Onions, chopped -- 2
  • Carrots, peeled and chopped -- 2
  • Turmeric -- 1 teaspoon
  • Water or stock -- 3 quarts
  • Kidney beans, drained -- 1 (15-ounce) can
  • Chickpeas, drained -- 1 (1-ounce) can
  • Lentils -- 1/2 cup
  • Pearl barley -- 1 cup
  • Spinach, chopped -- 1 pound
  • Salt and pepper -- to season
  • Sour cream or whole-milk yogurt -- 1 cup


  1. Heat the butter, ghee or oil in a large pot over medium-high flame. Add the lamb shank and brown it on all sides. Remove and set aside.
  2. Add the onions, carrots and turmeric and saute until the onions turn translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add back the lamb shank and the water or stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 45 minutes.
  3. Add the beans, chickpeas and lentils and simmer for another 30 minutes.
  4. Add the barley and simmer for another 20 minutes.
  5. Remove the lamb shank and take the meat from the bones. Chop up and add back to the soup.
  6. Add the spinach, salt and pepper and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in the sour cream or yogurt and adjust the seasonings. Serve hot and freeze leftovers.

Ash-e Jow Variations

  • Eliminate the lamb shank and you cut the preparation time almost in half. Or use chicken breast and add it with the beans.
  • Stir 2 tablespoons of tomato paste into the sauteing onions before adding the water or stock for extra flavor.
  • Use half barley and half rice for some variety.
  • Add a Persian dried lime or two to the simmering soup if you have one. Or squeeze in a lime or two at the end.
  • Add a handful of chopped scallions and a handful of chopped parsley when you add the spinach.


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