This traditional soup from Iran is simple to make and packed full of flavour from the aromatics, turmeric and fenugreek. Comforting with gooey eggs to dip into with the bread of your choice, this soup is a winter warmer.
What is Eshkeneh?
Eshkeneh is a soup made with the primary ingredients of onion, potato, fenugreek, turmeric and egg. There are many variations of the recipe for Eshkeneh. If you have tried it before, you may be more familiar with the version that results in a golden soup with flecks of green from the fenugreek leaves. One of the many variations is made with the addition of tomatoes and this is the recipe I have shared below.
Eshkeneh originates from the Khorasan region of Iran – the east side. My mother and her family are from Mashhad, which is sometimes referred to as the ‘capital of Khorasan’, so this soup was a regular feature in my childhood.
Ingredients in Eshkeneh
Onions and potato are cooked with fresh and dried aromatics in a broth made with tomatoes and tomato purée. Eggs are added to make an egg-drop soup and a lemon and chive oil is drizzled over before serving.
- Onions. The soup should feel like onion is one of the major ingredients so use a very large onion or two medium onions. See it as the Persian equivalent of a French onion soup.
- Garlic. Used as an aromatic to enhance the flavour.
- Potato. Use either an all-rounder potato like a Maris Piper or a waxier potato like a red potato. You want the potato cubes to keep their shape.
- Fenugreek. You need the dried leaf variety not the seeds.
- Tomatoes and Tomato Purée. Flavours, thickens and gives a rich red colour to the soup.
- Water or Vegetable Stock. The cooking liquid for the soup.
- Turmeric. Used to flavour the soup.
- Lemon Juice. Used both to flavour the soup and the chive oil drizzled over before serving.
- Salt and Pepper. To season the soup.
- Eggs. Cooked in the soup to your preference (I like mine to have a soft yolk to dip my bread into). Use good quality eggs such as organic free-range.
- Olive Oil. Used for cooking the soup and for the chive oil drizzle.
- Chives. Used for the chive oil.
Serve with flatbread such as Nan-e Barbari (traditional Persian flatbread) or Sesame and Nigella Seed Flatbread
Try another loved Persian Soup: Soupe Jo – Persian Cream of Barley and Chicken Soup
For the Soup
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion (finely diced)
- 1 clove garlic (crushed)
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp tomato purée
- 1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves (crush a little if the leaves are large)
- 1 large potato (finely diced - 1 cm cubes)
- 1 medium tomato (chopped)
- 600 mls water or vegetable stock
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
- A squeeze or two of fresh lemon juice
- 2 large free range eggs
For the Chive Oil Garnish
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- A handful of fresh chives
- A squeeze of lemon juice
- Take a medium size saucepan and place on medium-high heat. Add olive oil and then onion. Cook onion until translucent and starting to turn golden.
- Add garlic and turmeric and stir into the mixture. Add tomato purée. Then add dried fenugreek leaves and stir into mixture.
- Add diced potato and stir gently for a few minutes, making sure the potatoes do not stick to the pan.
- Add chopped tomatoes and then water or stock. Once soup starts to bubble, lower heat to low and let simmer for 20 minutes minimum. Check in now and again to stir occasionally.
- Season according to taste.
- Place olive oil, finely chopped fresh chives and lemon juice in a bowl and mix and put to one side to garnish the soup when ready to serve.
- Prior to serving, and when the soup is simmering, crack eggs into soup as far away as possible from each other so they don't merge. Poach 2 mins for soft; 4 mins for medium; and above 5 mins for hard. Turn off heat and serve in bowls with lemon and chive oil drizzled on top and flatbread to dip.