Khoreshte Khalal - خۆرشت خەلال
1 1/2 pound meat (lamb, beef ), washed and cubed
1 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted
1 cup dried barberries, picked over, rinsed,
1 cup yellow split peas, picked over, rinsed *optional
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/3 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 teaspoon crushed saffron dissolved in 2 tablespoons of hot water
1-2 tablespoons rose water (optional)
Salt to taste
Lightly toast the almond slivers in a dry pan for 3-5 minutes over medium to low heat. Set aside
In a small frying pan lightly saute the barberries in 1-2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat for a few minutes. Set aside.
In a small pan saute the tomato paste in a tablespoon of oil for 2-3 minutes over medium heat. Set aside. This step is optional but it improves the taste of the stew.
Heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a large pot, saute the sliced onion over medium heat until translucent, add the garlic and saute for another 2-3 minutes then add the turmeric. Stir well to blend every bit of onion and garlic with turmeric powder.
Add the meat and brown on all sides. Add cinnamon, salt and pepper to taste, blend well.
Make some room in the center of the pot by pushing the meat and onion mixture to the side of the pot and place the split peas in the center and fry them for a few minutes. This will harden the peas and gets rid of their raw smell. You may also cook the split peas separately with two cups of water and add them to the stew half way through cooking if you prefer.
Scoop in the tomato paste and pour in enough water to cover meat and to come about two inches above.
Cover and cook for 30 minutes on medium to low heat, add the almond slivers, mix well, cook and cover for another 20 minutes. Add water if needed.
Add barberries and saffron, stir well, taste and adjust seasoning. Cook for another 20-30 minutes until meat is tender and the flavors are well blended. Pour rose water in the last 10 minutes of cooking.
Serve warm with rice, pickles (torshi), fresh herbs and yogurt.