Sour Chicken and Split Peas (Persian Morgheh Torsh)

This is a traditional Persian dish whose recipe I found on the website Turmeric and Saffron – a great resource for Persian cooking.  This is a pretty easy dish, and the ingredients are all pretty common to most households.  I changed it up a little to accomodate it to our tastes, and make it even easier.  Serve it over hot rice.  Also, you can cook the split peas while doing everything else, or you can make them the night before.  The longer you can cook this at the end, the better – even up to an hour.  I think I might even try and adapt it to the slow cooker one day . . .


4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2X1 inch pieces
1/2 cup yellow split peas
2 bunches of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 bunch of parsley, finely chopped
1 bunch of fresh mint, finely chopped
1 large onion, peeled and diced
4-5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced                                                                                    1 TBSP turmeric (optional)
2 lemons, zested and juiced                                                                                                     Salt and pepper to taste
Oil, as needed                                                                                                                                     1 cup water (for split peas) plus enough to cover dish


  • Place split peas in a small pot and pour 1 cup water over them. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer until peas are tender – about 20-30 minutes. Drain water from peas and put them aside.
  • Heat 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium heat, add the chopped onion and cook 3-4 minutes. Add the minced garlic, saute until soft.  Add the turmeric and stir well.
  • Add the chicken pieces, season with salt and pepper, and cook through.
  • Add the green herbs and saute 2-3 minutes.
  • Add split peas and then enough water to cover all the ingredients. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat. Reduce heat, add more salt and pepper and the lemon zest and juice.
  • Cover and cook on medium-low heat for about 20-30 minutes until all the flavors come together, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

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