Beef and Yellow Split Pea Stew (Khoresh Gheymeh)

Stews play a huge part in Iranian cuisine. Even though there are many different Iranian stews, a few of them are more popular among Iranians and they are pretty well-known around the world. Khoresh Gheymeh definitely stands on top three of the popular Iranian stews. In Farsi, Khoresh means stew. Gheymeh consists of beef, yellow split peas, Persian dried lime, onion and tomato paste. It’s one of the most popular dishes in every household and it takes around 3 to 4 hours to cook. In our family Gheymeh was more of a weekend lunch dish. My mom used to start making it around 8 or 9 o’clock in the morning and I would wake up to a great smell of rich tomato sauce and Limoo Amani. Limo Amani or Persian dried lime is a specific lime that has been dehydrated, usually after having spent a majority of its drying time in the sun. It’s very aromatic and tastes sour and citrusy with an earthy, somewhat smoky, taste and is a staple to Iranian cuisine. Gheymeh is always served with saffron rice. The most common sides that can be served with any stews are Shirazi salad and Torshi (pickled vegetables).
Yield 4 Servings Prep. Time 10 min Cooking Time 210 min Total Time 220 min


Here are the following ingredients:

  • 4 tsp (20 mL) canola or sunflower oil, divided
  • 1 cup (250 mL) yellow split peas
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1 lb (500 g) Beef Stew Cubes
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) EACH ground turmeric and fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) tomato paste
  • Boiling water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) saffron threads
  • Ice cubes
  • 5 Persian dried limes
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) salt

Shopping List

Here are the following shopping items to buy:


Follow these cooking methods/directions:

  1. Heat 1 tsp (5 mL) oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or enameled cast-iron roaster. Add split peas and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes (this helps them hold their shape in the stew). Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Add remaining oil to the pot. Cook onion, stirring, for about 5 minutes until soft and golden brown. Add beef and cook, stirring, until beef is browned all over. Add turmeric, pepper and tomato paste; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  3. Pour in enough boiling water to cover the meat, then add the cinnamon stick. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1½ hours.
  4. Meanwhile, grind the saffron using a mortar and pestle, then add 2 ice cubes. Set it aside and let ice melt for saffron to bloom slowly. Poke holes in dried limes with a fork.
  5. Stir saffron water, dried limes, split peas and salt into the stew. Add more boiling water, if necessary, to cover beef. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally for 1½ to 2 hours or until meat is fork-tender and split peas are softened.