Khoresht e Karafs | Persian Celery Stew | خورش کرفس

koresht karafs
Yields: 4 Servings Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 20 Mins Cook Time: 40 Mins Total Time: 1 Hr

Khoresht karafs is a fresh, herby Iranian celery stew served with soft rice. Traditionally containing lamb, this vegan recipe uses earthy black beans to balance the sharp flavour of the sauce.

When I heard about this dish, I was a little hesitant to try as I am not a fan of celery. But this is a perfect example of how Iranian cuisine focusses in on a single ingredient and creates a beautiful dish full of harmonic flavours using herbs and spices.

Is Khoresht e Karafs healthy?

Is this the lushest, healthiest khoresht (Iranian stew)? I think so! Packed with fresh herbs, vegetables and beans, Khoresht Karafs tastes amazing and is nutritious. Firstly, the black beans are full of vegan protein (10g per portion) which is in addition to the rice that goes with this dish. Celery is low in calories but contains potassium, folate, choline, vitamin A, and vitamin K. WIth even more vitamins and nutrients, parsley is used in fold medicine for high blood pressure and mint is good for digestion.

Ingredients swaps

This dish is fun to play around with, swapping ingredients to get slightly different tastes. Black beans are a great alternative to lamb because they muddle down to create a thicker consistency. By blending with the other ingredients, they also balance out the sour taste of the sauce. You can also try red kidney beans. These hold their shape more, keeping the liquid thin, and creating a variety of tastes and textures in each mouthful.

Another way that this dish is typical of Iranian cuisine is with its sour taste: here achieved using unripe grape juice. However, you can easily adapt this dish to what is available in your local shops. For example, if you live near an Iranian/international food store, you can get unripe grape juice (ab ghooreh). If not, you can buy pomegranate molasses from Sainsburys, Ocado, and international stores. Otherwise, you can use lime juice to achieve that sour kick.

Cooking Tips:

  • To cook faster, slice the celery thinly instead of the suggested 5cm
  • Use dried herbs in smaller amounts when you don’t have fresh herbs
  • Cook the rice in the traditional Iranian way for the best results

Special thanks to my friend Moujan for suggesting this dish to me.

How to serve Persian Celery Stew

This dish is one of many Iranian Khoresht – a sauce that goes with rice. Pair this dish with traditional Iranian tahdig (crispy rice). If you are wanting to cook quickly, you can simply serve with boiled rice.


0/11 Ingredients
Adjust Servings
    For rice follow my Persian mixed rice recipe or cook plain rice according to packet instructions Sauce/ koresht


0/6 Instructions
  • In oil, fry thinly chopped onion in a deep pan. While you wait, chop the celery sticks into 1-2cm pieces.
  • Once the onions are soft but not brown (about 5 mins), add the celery. Remove any hard stems from the mint and parsley. Put a few leaves aside for a garnish later, chop the rest and add to the pan.
  • Add the black beans, unripe grape juice (or alternative ingredient) and spices. Stir and fry the mixture for 5 mins.
  • Add boiling water to the pan, enough to fill the pan 3cm above the food. Top with a lid and leave to simmer on low heat.
  • Stir the stew occasionally. You can ensure the water level doesn’t get low enough for the food to stick or burn by topping up with water if needed. The stew is ready when the celery is soft and the mixture has reduced to a soup consistency.
  • Serve the stew on top of rice (see above for suggestions) with a mint and parsley garnish.


Serve this Celery Stew on traditional Iranian rice and tahdig.

Did you make this recipe? Tag @vegan_middle_east on Instagram or comment below.

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