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Persian Barley-Vegetable Soup

4 Servings

35 minutes

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Toasting the barley may not be traditional to this Persian comfort food, but we found it was an easy way to subtly enhance the soup's flavor and aroma. Shredded carrots lend an earthy sweetness, ground turmeric adds a golden hue and sour cream offers a touch of richness and tang. Be sure to use the small holes of a box grater to finely shred the carrots. For this soup, we used quick-cooking barley rather than the more common pearled barley. This form of barley, which resembles rolled oats, allows the dish to be on the table in under 45 minutes. The dried cranberries may seem like a curious addition, but they add welcome tartness and color and are good stand-ins for hard-to-find barberries.




Don't stir the sour cream directly into the soup. Tempering it with the hot liquid ensures it won't curdle. Also, don't use reduced-fat sour cream or Greek yogurt in place of regular sour cream. Greek yogurt separated when stirred in and reduced-fat sour cream lacks the proper richness.

35 minutes



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Judith Y.
November 25, 2023
Beautiful, easy and delicious soup
I made this exactly as written (added just a touch more salt at the end). Super healthy and delicious on a cold night. Very easy, not too many ingredients. Surprisingly hearty.
Angela B.
December 15, 2022
You can find barberries at any Persian market.
Sallie S.
November 6, 2022
My favorite fall and winter soup
This is a fantastic soup to make ahead, separate into small containers, store and reheat. The addition of fresh dill and cranberries makes the soup feel fresh and the rest of it is just tasty and hearty without feeling heavy. I absolutely love the flavor combos - a Milk Street go-to. Tip - resist the urge to use store bought shredded carrots if you can - finely grating the carrots with the box grater or a comparable fine grater infuses the soup with the carrot flavor. It’s so so good!
Janet W.
May 25, 2024
We can get barberries easily here if we want to substitute what quantity would you recommend?
Amy T.

This is one of my favourite winter soups. I love the contrasting taste of the cranberries.

Siri H.

Are the cranberries unsweetened?

Lynn C.

Hi Siri -

No. Almost all dried cranberries are sweetened since cranberries are so tart. You may find certain brands with less added sugar than others, or artificial sugar, but we've never seen any without any additional sweetener at all.

The Milk Street Team