Pistachio soup with barberries and a sour-cream swirl

Pistachio soup with barberries and a sour-cream swirl

Soop-e pesteh

Mark Roper

This is an unashamedly rich, creamy and luxurious soup for when you want to pull out all the stops. It’s an extraordinary golden-green hue, and it looks stunning with a garnish of deep-crimson barberries and bright green pistachio slivers.

Use unsalted, shelled pistachios for this soup. They should be blanched and peeled, which is a fiddly job, but results in a much more vibrant colour.


Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon olive oil
40g unsalted butter
1 small leek, diced, white part only
2 shallots, diced
1 small garlic clove, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
50g basmati rice
1.25 litres good-quality chicken stock or vegetable stock
sea salt
160g unsalted pistachios, blanched and peeled
1 orange, juiced
1/2 lime, juiced
1 tablespoon dried barberries, stems removed
100ml sour cream
1 tablespoon slivered pistachios


  1. Heat the oil and half the butter in a large, heavy-based saucepan over a low heat. Add the leek, shallots and garlic and fry gently until soft and translucent. Stir in the spices and cook for another couple of minutes.
  2. Add the rice and cook for a few seconds, stirring to coat it with the onion mixture. Add the stock and salt to taste and simmer gently for 30 minutes.
  3. Towards the end of the cooking time, tip the blanched pistachios into a food processor with a generous ladleful of the hot soup. Blitz until as smooth as possible, then pour back into the soup. Add the orange and lime juice, then taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking.
  4. When nearly ready to serve, prepare the garnish. Soak the barberries for 2 minutes in cold water, then drain and dry well. Melt the remaining butter in a small saucepan over a low heat, then add the barberries and fry for 4–5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat.
  5. Ladle the soup into bowls and top each serve with a swirl of sour cream. Scatter on the barberries and slivered pistachios and serve straight away.
Middle Eastern
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