KHORESH (ḵoreš or ḵorešt), name of a type of dish very frequently used in Persian cuisine. It consists of pieces of meat, fried with chopped onion in cleared butter (rowḡan), butter or vegetable oil, some herbs or vegetables which are first sautéed and then added to the meat; other ingredients may consist of legumes and dried fruits. Besides salt and pepper, other spices such as turmeric and saffron are added. The outcome is somewhat like a stew with vegetables, but with less liquid. The meat traditionally is that of lamb, but it could be veal, beef, chicken, turkey or some other fowl. In the Persian Gulf regions, fish is used instead of the above meats. In some local varieties, eggs are used instead of meat.
Khoresh is generally eaten together with cooked white rice in the form of either chelow (čelow, see BERENJ), i.e., steamed rice, the cooking of which involves rinsing of the rice after it has been boiled and half cooked, or kata, i.e., cooked rice without rinsing. Normally, one spreads spoonfuls of khoresh over a serving of chelow or else puts it on the side of a serving of chelow. One eats the khoresh and chelow by taking a portion of each with a spoon. The taste derives essentially from the khoresh. Other words used for khoresh are qāteq/qātoq (Turkish) and qalya/qelya (mostly in older writings).
In Kār-nāma dar bāb-e ṭabbāḵi va ṣefāt-e ān (A Manual of Cooking and its Characteristics) by Ḥājj Moḥammad ʿAli Bāvarči Baḡdādi, the first of the two cooking manuals from the Safavid period, published under the title of Āšpazi-e dawra-ye ṣafawi (Cooking in the Safavid Period), 13 varieties of khoresh are mentioned under qalya (pp. 143-58). Nur-Allāh, the chef of Shah ʿAbbās the Great, and the author of the second manual, Mādat al-ḥayāt (The Substance of Life), lists 12 sour qalyas and seven plain qalyas (pp. 231-34).
Modern authors list different numbers of khoreshes. M. Richard Khan Moʾaddeb al-Molk, in his book Āšpazi-e Irāni va farangi (Persian and European Cooking) lists ten khoreshes (pp. 72-75), whereas Rozā Montaẓami, in her Honar-e āšpazi (The Art of Cooking) lists 32 varieties of khoresh (pp. 809-40).
The chief khoreshes prepared nowadays are khoresh-e qeyma, khoresh-e qorma-sabzi, khoresh-e fesenjān, khoresh-e naʿnā-jaʿfari, khoresh-e ālu-esfenāj, khoresh-e bādenjān, khoresh-e kadu, khoresh-e qeyma-bādenjān, khoresh-e beh, and khoresh-e āluča, besides local khoreshes used in some provinces, particularly Gilan.
Nur-Allāh Āšpaz, Āšpazi-e dawra-ye ṣafawi, ed. Iraj Afšār, 1st ed., Tehran, 1981.
Bosḥāq-e Aṭʿema, Abu Esḥāq Ḥallāj Širāzi, Divān-e Aṭʿema, 1st ed., ed. Abul Żiāʾ Tawfiq, 1303 AH/1808.
N. Daryābandari, Ketāb-e mostaṭāb-e āšpazi: az sir tā piyāz, vol. II, 1st ed., Tehran, 2001.
Musiu Rišār Khan Moʾaddeb-al-molk, Ṭabḵ-e irāni o farangi o širinipazi, Tehran, 1932, 1st ed., Tehran, 1932.
R. Montaẓami, Honar-e āšpazi, 39th ed., Tehran, 2001.
N. Batmanglij, Food of Life, Washington, D.C., 1984.
M. R. Ghanoonparvar, Persian Cuisine I, Lexington, KY, 1982.
N. Ramazani, Persian Cooking: A Table of Exotic Delights, Charlottesville, VA, 1982.
December 15, 2008
Originally Published: December 15, 2008
Last Updated: December 15, 2008