Recipe | Minou’s Khoresh Karafs

The 2013 White House Passover Seder included a dish that came from a member of my employer’s family.  I thought this was an extremely exciting tidbit and decided to share it here as well.  The recipe can also be found on the White House official website, along with other featured favorites from the 2013 Seder.

*Recipe contributed by: David Litt, Presidential Speechwriter in the Office of Communications

I come from an Ashkenazi family, and we tend to stick to the typical Eastern-European Jewish dishes. But my aunt by marriage, Eva, comes from a family of Mashhadi Jews – her parents came here from Iran a few years before she was born. For about 20 years Aunt Eva and her family have hosted the second Seder, and her mother, Minou, usually brings a few dishes she learned to make growing up in Mashhad. For me, nothing can ever take the place of chicken soup and gefilte fish, but Minou’s cooking brings a whole new set of flavors to the table, and it’s always a highlight of the meal.


  • 3 lbs. cubed beef/chicken
  • 2 medium-sized onions
  • 1 medium-sized leek
  • 2-3 bunches parsley
  • 1 small bunch cilantro
  • 1/2 bunches celery
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup oil (canola or safflower)
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • S/P to taste

Prepare the meat

  1. In a separate pot, put cubed beef into heated water and bring to boil – boil 1 minute.
  2. Empty beef into colander and rinse.
  3. Sautee 1/2 onion briefly (1-2 minutes) and add cubed beef with 1 cup water
  4. Lower heat and cover. Simmer about 2 hours.
  5. Continue to remove any foam and check to add water as necessary.
  6. If using chicken, briefly sauté cubed chicken and add to beef after 1 hour of cooking.

Prepare the greens

  1. Cut onions lengthwise.
  2. Thinly slice white and most of green parts of leek.
  3. Chop parsley and cilantro.
  4. In a medium sized pot, sauté onions until softened, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add 1 tsp. turmeric.
  6. Add celery and then leeks and sauté another 5 minutes until just softened.
  7. Add parsley/cilantro and sauté briefly.
  8. Lower heat and cover.
  9. Add the meat with cooking liquid, to onion, parsley, and celery mixture and continue to simmer covered on low heat.  Add dried lemons, salt & pepper and fresh lemon as needed.

I still have yet to try the recipe myself, but based on my experience with the home-made Persian food that I’ve had from this family before, I can assure you this dish will be slammin’!




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