SSI News Blog

Welcome to the SSI Food Blog. Whether they are SSI employees, volunteers, refugees or people seeking asylum, the people featured here all share a love of food.

One of the many benefits of multiculturalism is delicious food, so let’s enjoy!


In Iran this is a very popular dish that we would eat minimum one time a week with the family. I learnt to cook from my parents and from my friend. 

Ghormeh Sabzi Mustafa presenting his lamb Ghormeh Sabzi.

I started early, around three or four years old, cooking for my family, not hundreds of people like at Community Kitchen. I have attended cooking lessons in Iran and always wanted to be a professional. I like to learn different national dishes; that’s one reason I’m interested in cooking.

Note: Ghormeh sabzi is a Persian herb stew. It is a popular dish in Iran, Iraq, and Azerbaijan and is often said to be the National Dish of Iran. It dates back up to 1000 years. Ghormeh means stewed and sabzi literally means greens or herbs.

Ghormeh Sabzi  — or Persian Green Stew

Mustafa's Ghoreh Sabzi. Mustafa's Ghoreh Sabzi.

Serves 6 – 8


600g lamb (cut in cubes of about 4cm)

1kg basmati rice

2-2.5L water

250g Herbs – a tin of prepared herbs called Ghormeh Sabzi Alvand can be purchased from Persian grocers (or use ½ bunch chopped flatleaf parsley, ½ bunch chopped coriander, ½ bunch spinach leaves roughly chopped, ½ cup fresh or dried fenugreek leaves)

2 dried limes or lemons

1 cup of canned of kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 tsp turmeric

Salt and pepper to taste

60ml (about 1/4 cup) olive or vegetable oil

A pinch of Saffron

Prep 20min. Cook 3 hours.


Put rice in a bowl and wash. Leave to soak in a bowl of water with 2 tsp of salt. Heat a large (heavy-based) pot and add 2 or 3 tablespoons of oil. Add the cubed meat and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the turmeric, tinned Alvand herbs (or fresh substitute), whole dried limes or lemons and water. Reduce to a medium heat, seal with lid and stew for 2 hours.

After 2 hours add the cup of kidney beans and cook for another hour.

Meanwhile, soak saffron in 1 cup of boiled water. Bring 2 litres of water to boil in a large pot and add rice. Cover pan with a lid wrapped in a tea towel (the towel helps  seal the pan and absorb moisture from the steam). Allow steam to build for 1 minute, then reduce heat to low–medium and cook for a further 30 minutes or until rice is tender and fluffy and there is a crisp bottom layer.

Decorate rice with saffron water. Serve cooked Ghormeh Sabzi with rice.

Salad, pickles and flatbread are also traditional accompaniments. 

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