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Let me take care of you, making Ash-e Reshteh with my mom, Graduation Festival Royal Academy of Art (The Hague), July 2019. Smartphone snapshots taken by others.

As part of Silvana Gordon Valenzuela graduation work iré contigo // i’ll go with you. Silvana invented a playful structure and a stable platform facilitating makers, thinkers and other creatives with a voice the opportunity to discuss urgent sociopolitical and environmental matters.

Love in a bowl, is how my mom used to call this nourishing dish. One time I even tempted telling my mom that I was feeling sick, hoping that she would make this soup for me to get better and stronger. But all I actually needed, was my mom’s love and attention. Her time, effort and energy transcending in a simple yet gracefully balanced dish. Even today, sometimes too far away to reach out for the childish attention for love I once sought so eagerly for, my longing for a place to call home comes together in this bowl of love. As if the unsurpassable recipe, perfectioned by each of my grand – grand – and grandmothers’ hands, softly speaks the loving language of comfort; “Don’t you worry my love, all is good now”. Even after finishing your meal and your stomach hurting after one too many bites, the scents would linger for hours and hours. Sometimes even for days after preparation. It’s nurturing scents forming a soothing home within the stone walls of an ordinary house.

Ash-e Reshteh

For the soup:
– 8 medium sized onions
– 8 cloves of garlic
– 5 tablespoons sunflower oil
– 5 large tomatoes diced
– 1 large leek cut into rings
– 500 grams of sliced frozen spinach
– 2 cans of tomato puree (à 140 gram)
– 2 cubes vegetable stock
– 1 teaspoon of salt
– 6 teaspoons of turmeric
– 2 teaspoons paprika powder
– 2 teaspoons of chili powder
– 500 grams of ash-e reshteh noodles
– 5 liters of water
– 500 grams of chickpeas (canned)
– 300 grams of kidney beans (canned)
– 200 grams of coriander (thinly chopped)
– 5 tablespoons dried mint
– 500-gram full curd cheese

For the onion, mint and garlic mixture:
– 100 ml of sunflower oil
– 3 teaspoons of turmeric
– 4 cloves of finely chopped garlic
– 1 teaspoon of salt
– 3 teaspoons of turmeric
– 5 tablespoons dried mint

Cut the onions, garlic, leek, tomatoes and coriander. Heat the oil in a pan, then fry three teaspoons of turmeric, paprika powder and chili powder for 30 seconds. Add the onions and two garlics then add the tomatoes together with the tomato puree and fry for a few more minutes. Stir every now and then. Add the water together with the stock cubes. Then add the frozen spinach, leek and ash-e reshteh noodles to the mixture. Stir everything well together and let it slowly boil. Then let it simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. When the noodles are al dente, add the canned kidney beans and brown beans to the soup together with the coriander and cook for 3-5 minutes. Add salt and chili pepper to your own taste and stir well.

Fry the onion, mint and garlic mixture in a small frying pan until the oil is hot. Put this mixture in the soup and stir everything well. Make the full curd cheese mixture by adding it to a bowl with 100 to 200 ml cold water. Mix well, then add some crushed dried mint to it and mix it again. Your soup is ready to be served. This recipe can nurture around 10 people, and sometimes even more. Having served the soup for everyone, you can top it off with the full curd cheese mixture. Enjoy!