Erica’s food files: Asheh Reshtey – Persian Noodle Soup

1st December 2017 / Erica Cohen


500g of Persian ‘reshtey’ noodles

1 tin of red kidney beans, drained

1 tin of chickpeas, drained

100g brown lentils

100g mung beans

Large bunch of coriander, finely chopped

Large bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

400g of spinach

6 medium turnips, peeled and halved

2 large onions, finely chopped

1 teaspoon turmeric

2 tablespoons oil

Salt and ground black pepper

Kashk (liquid whey) can be replaced with sour cream or natural yoghurt

2 tablespoons of dried mint

2 tablespoons of raisins

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Serves: 6

Noodle Notes:

‘Reshtey’ are the special Iranian noodles which make this dish truly authentic.  These flat strips will puff up when cooked, adding thickness and saltiness to the soup.  Reshtey is often branded as pottage macaroni (just to confuse you) and can be found in all Iranian food stores.


So, let’s begin…

1 – Rinse the lentils and mung beans with cold water, drain and leave to one side.

2 – Boil the mung beans vigorously for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and rinse with cold water.

3 – In a large saucepan, fry half the chopped onion in one tablespoon of oil until lightly golden. Add the turmeric and season with pepper and a little salt.

4 – Add 1½ litres of boiling water together with the mung beans, lentils and turnips. Let this boil for 5 minutes on a high heat. Then lower to a medium heat and leave to cook for 20 minutes.

5 – While the soup is cooking you can prepare the onion garnish. Fry the remaining chopped onion in a small frying pan until golden brown. Add the mint and raisins and stir until the onion becomes crispy.

6 – After 20 minutes, test the turnips with a fork to check they have softened slightly but are still firm. Then break the noodles into 2-inch strips and add them to the soup, stirring continually to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add some boiling water if the mixture gets too thick.

7 – While the noodles are cooking, add the spinach, coriander, parsley, chickpeas and kidney beans and continue to stir. After 8-10 minutes the noodles should be cooked and will be soft and puffy.

8 – Remove from the heat and serve in bowls with a dollop of kashk, Greek or natural yoghurt on top. Add a spoonful of the fried onions mixture and you’re good to go!





Erica’s food files: Opso, Marylebone

16th October 2017 / Erica Cohen

You know those nights when you go and see a special screening of Sister Act in a candlelit church with a live gospel choir?  No, neither did I, till my friend Koh suggested it.  So I was having one of those all singing, all dancing, very cheesy and slightly embarrassing movie nights and we needed some food! We decided on Opso, whose Greek meze menu is enough to make even a fasting nun salivate.

Opso which means ‘delicate morsel of food’ in ancient Greek is all about social laid back dining.  Opso’s modern Greek tapas is a concept that sits very well with me, as you can order everything you fancy, without feeling like a massive fatty, because you’re sharing it. So with our heads full of gospel and sassy one-liners, it was time to order an ungodly amount of Greek food. Praise the Lord!

We started with some classics; Tzatziki, Taramas and Pitta Bread.  Now, these may sound somewhat basic but holy moly, they were the stars of the show.  The generous portion of grilled pitta bread which had been made in-house, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with herbs, was warming and wondrous.  The creamy taramas, came with chopped red olives and herbs and was a reassuring pale pink as opposed to the luminous pink that prevails in most establishments.  The tzatziki was a curious paste-like texture topped with dill and cucumber, again, these little touches helped elevate this humble dip into a dreamy Mediterranean marvel.


We moved on to the Mac n’ Cheese from the Greek Street Food selection; a filthy, glutenous mix of traditional hylopites pasta with smoked cheese and corn béchamel and all served up in a street food takeaway box, very cute.  We coupled this with Handmade Spanakopita and Pastourmas which didn’t disappoint, the spiced cured beef perfectly offset with the chive oil and coriander.  We then drank beautiful cocktails while I entertained Koh with my misguided musical theatre ambitions.  We agreed the only thing holding me back from becoming a West End star was the outfit.  It was simple,  I just had to find the perfect pair of leggings and I was good to go.  We left on a high, full of false expectation and authentic Greek cuisine. Head to Opso if you’re hungry for a life on the stage or just simply a tasty Mediterranean meal made of high-quality ingredients. Amen to that!

Average meal with starters, 3 mains and dessert: £24

Address: 10 Paddington St, W1U 5QL, Marylebone, London
Telephone: 0207 487 5088
For reservations e-mail:

Monday – Friday
Lunch: 12pm – 4pm (last order 3:30pm)
Dinner: 6pm – 11:30pm (last order 10:30pm)

Brunch: 10am – 4pm (last order 3:30pm)
Dinner: 5pm – 11:30pm (last order 10:30pm)

Brunch: 10am – 4pm (last order 3:30pm)
Dinner: 5pm – 11pm (last order 10pm