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Iranian Yogurt Soup (Ashe Mast)

ingredients

serves 4
300 ml (10 fl oz) natural yogurt
100 g (4 oz) basmati rice
350 g bag baby spinach leaves
1 large onion
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp red lentils
a small bunch of fresh coriander
a small bunch of fresh chives
a small bunch of fresh parsley
1 tsp salt
freshly chopped herbs to garnish
pitta bread to serve

method

1. Peel and finely chop the onion. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and gently fry the onion for 3 - 4 minutes until just softened.

2. Add the lentils and rice and stir-fry until well coated in the onion mixture.

3. Pour over 900 ml (1 pint 10 fl oz) water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes or until the rice is tender.

4. Meanwhile, wash the spinach and herbs and shake dry. Roughly chop.

5. Add to the soup, along with the salt, bring back to the boil, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

6. Remove the soup from the heat and gradually beat in all but 4 tablespoons of yogurt.

7. Heat through without boiling, and then serve each portion with a spoonful of the remaining yogurt and some chopped herbs.

8. Accompany with warmed pitta bread.

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