Persian Noodle Soup for Cook the Books and The Temporary Bride

The Temporary Bride: A Memoir of Love and Food in Iran by Jennifer Klinec is the October/November selection for Cook the Books.  Claudia of Honey from Rock is hosting.   

About the book

For fans of Reading Lolita in Tehran, a true story of forbidden love set against the rich cultural and political backdrop of modern-day Iran.

Jennifer Klinec is fearless. In her thirties, she abandons her bland corporate job to launch a cooking school from her London apartment and travel the world in search of delicious recipes and obscure culinary traditions. Her journey takes her to Iran, where she seeks out a local woman to learn the secrets of Persian cuisine.

Vahid is suspicious of the strange foreigner who turns up in his mother’s kitchen. Unused to such a bold and independent woman, he is frustrated to find himself, the prized only son of the house, largely ignored for the first time. But when the two are thrown together on an unexpected adventure, they discover a mutual attraction that draws them irresistibly toward each other–but also pits them against harsh Iranian laws and customs, which soon threaten to tear the unlikely lovers apart.

Getting under the skin of one of the most complex and fascinating nations on earth, The Temporary Bride is a soaring, intricately woven story of being loved, being fed, and struggling to belong.

About the author

Born in Canada, Jennifer Klinec lives and works in London.


What I thought…

I was intrigued by Klinec from the beginning of this memoir.   Klinec comes from a hard working immigrant family that settles in Canada.   Klinec is driven and fearless and maintains that hard working spirit.   I was really rooting for her as she sets off on her cooking school adventure.  I was still cheering her on  as she trekked to exotic places in search of exotic recipes.

I still found her fearlessness intriguing as she travels to Iran but I began to become fearful for her.  As she serendipitously ends up in Vahid’s family home and I could see the budding romance emerging, I really started to worry.   I mean, she’s in a country covering her head and walking behind, trying not to be noticed while running headlong into a relationship that could get her imprisoned or worse.  What I thought was going to be a tender romance turned sordid and sour in my view.   I did still enjoy the book and her story, but I guess I lost a bit of respect for her as she pursued the temporary bride tradition.

The food…

The food of Iran, of which I have no experience, was fascinating.    There are no recipes in the book but there’s obviously lots of food references and lots of descriptions as Klinec learns the authentic food traditions with Vahid’s family.

I tried to do some research on Klinec and found very little.  I could find no recipes attributed to her (or little if anything about her life other than what’s in the the pages of this book).

Instead, I googled “Persian recipes” and came across a  Saveur article on “18 Classic Persian Recipes You Need in Your Repertoire.”   It includes recipes for many iconic dishes, but I landed on a soup.  (That seems to be a trend around here.)

 Persian Noodle Soup
(Ash-e Reshteh)

Based on Ash-e Reshteh from Saveur

Fragrant, filling and delicious!


  • 1/2 c. canola oil, divided
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 1/4 c. dried kidney beans
  • 1/4 c. dried white navy beans
  • 1/4 c. dried chickpeas
  • 1/2 T. ground turmeric
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 c. chopped spinach
  • 1/2 c. chopped parsley
  • 1/4 c. brown lentils (I used a blend of sprouted green, brown and black lentils.)
  • 1/8 c. chives, finely chopped
  • 8 oz. dried linguine
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 1 T. dried mint
  • plain yogurt


  1. Soak the dried beans and dried chickpeas overnight.  Drain.
  2. Heat half the canola oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions, and cook until caramelized, about 20 minutes. Transfer half the onions to a bowl; set aside for garnish.
  3. Add all beans, turmeric, and salt and pepper to onions in pan; cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add 6 cups water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, until beans are barely tender, about 50 minutes. Add spinach, parsley, lentils, and chives; cook for 20 minutes. Add noodles, and cook until noodles and beans are tender, about 12 minutes more.
  4. Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic; cook until lightly browned and crisp, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Return skillet to heat and add mint; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Ladle soup into bowls; top with reserved caramelized onions and garlic chips, then add a dollop of yogurt and drizzle with the mint oil.

Yield: 4

My mint for this dish was definitely freeze dried (from the recent frigid weather).

Almost all of the ingredients could be prepped the day ahead to make meal time easier.   Soaking the beans overnight and chopping and sauteing the onions are the hardest part to this soup.   I halved the original recipe and this still made four hearty servings.   I heated up some of the leftovers for us and added a bit of chicken stock to stretch it a bit.  It was better the second day.

The original recipe also called for powdered whey.   I used yogurt instead.  Much simpler.

I made this soup (basically) again with turkey stock (from a pre-holiday meal).   My, my, was it good.  This is a very versatile recipe.  I think you could swap in and out different beans and pasta.

I’m linking up with Foodies Read and Deb’s Souper Sundays.

I do want to thank Claudia for hosting this memoir.

For the December 2019 / January 2020 edition, I’m hosting the novel The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (April 2012).   Look for an announcement post soon at Cook The Books.

10 comments to Persian Noodle Soup for Cook the Books and The Temporary Bride

  • It’s definitely soup season, so this is such an appropriate recipe. This looks great — love noodles in soup, and there are so many interesting flavors at play here. Really nice — thanks.

  • With all the beans, lentils and noodle..this is a filling and delicious dish. I so want to taste some :-))

  • Mae

    Persian cuisine is often identified as one of the great high cuisines of world history. My little experience with food (mostly cooked by Iranian friends) confirms that this is accurate. Your recipe looks great. It seems odd that this book included no recipes, since that seems to have been the point of the author’s experience.

    best… mae at

  • Oh yes, I’m in the mood for soup! And, this one sounds so good. Appreciate your insightful review Debra.

  • A nice healthy and tasty soup. A little mint in a soup sure brings out all of the other flavor. A good representative dish for the book. Thanks for the recipe and the review.

  • Ack! I am behind again and need to finish this one up. Your soup looks delicious. I took the liberty of adding it to this week’s round up. 😉 Thanks for sharing with Souper Sundays.

  • I was ambivalent about this book too Deb. I just didn’t get the feeling from the writing and the story that the relationship was worth the risk. I imagine it was, it just did not come across in the book.

  • Nice soup! I like that it mixes different types of legumes: a great recipe to reach for when you have a bit of this and a bit of that in the legume department. I was intrigued by the use of powdered whey and wonder where the tradition comes from. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • I LOVE this soup and can’t wait to make it again. Thanks for the reminder. The first time I had it – beans and pasta together – I thought it would be strangely heavy. But it was satisfyingly filling.