Mouthwatering Beef and Sheep Tongue Stew Recipe

Are you an adventurous foodie looking to try something new and exciting? Then, let me introduce you to a dish that is sure to tantalize your taste buds – Zabaan or Persian/Iranian Beef & Sheep Tongue Stew.

This hearty stew, also known as Khorak-e-Zaban, is a traditional Persian delicacy that has been enjoyed for centuries in Iranian households. It is a staple in the Persian kitchen that is packed with flavors and aromas that will transport you to the streets of Tehran with every bite.

I am Ehud, an Israeli chef who fell in love with this dish during my travels to the Middle East. I have since tried and tested many variants of this traditional recipe until I have found the perfect balance of flavors and textures. And now, I am excited to share it with you all.

In this recipe article, I will guide you through every step of making this delicious beef and sheep tongue stew from scratch using fresh and easily available ingredients. So, get ready to impress your taste buds and surprise your family and friends with this exotic dish!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Zabaan (Persian/Iranian Beef & Sheep Tongue Stew)
Zabaan (Persian/Iranian Beef & Sheep Tongue Stew)

Friends, if you’re seeking a meal that’s hearty, delicious, and rich with flavor, then let me introduce you to the Zabaan (Persian/Iranian Beef & Sheep Tongue Stew) recipe! This dish is a Middle Eastern classic that features tender beef and sheep tongues simmered in a savory broth of tomato paste, mushrooms, onion, garlic and spices. It’s a dish that warms the soul and satisfies every taste bud!

What I love most about this recipe is that it’s truly unique. The combination of meats may seem odd at first glance, but trust me when I say that the flavors will leave you completely satisfied. The beef tongue adds a richness and depth to the stew while the sheep tongue brings a subtle sweetness to the mix. Together with an array of aromatic herbs like parsley, spring onions and dill, this dish will transport your taste buds straight to Iran/Persia.

Another reason why you’ll love this recipe is its versatility. You can serve it up with steaming hot rice on those chilly winter evenings or add some fresh cucumber salad as ideal summer meal. This stew can be served for lunch or dinner and is perfect for reheating for leftovers.

Lastly, this Zabaan (Persian/Iranian Beef & Sheep Tongue Stew) recipe makes for great entertainment food. Invite your family and friends over for a night of exploring new taste palettes! You’ll be able to impress guests with not only your cooking skills but also your bold culinary choices.

In summary: A unique and versatile dish that will leave your taste buds begging for more – what are you waiting for? Get out there and try this flavorful explosion today!

Ingredient List

 A tender and flavorful stew made from beef and sheep tongue.
A tender and flavorful stew made from beef and sheep tongue.

Here’s what you’ll need to make Zabaan, a hearty Persian/Iranian beef and sheep tongue stew.

Stew ingredients:

  • 1 beef tongue
  • 1 sheep tongue
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3-4 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 500 g of tomato paste
  • 100 g of sliced mushrooms
  • 200 g of butter
  • Fresh parsley and dill for garnish
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Zabaan is an unusual but flavorful dish, made with delicious tender tongues of both beef and sheep. I prefer to use both for a richer, more complex flavor in my dish. If you think cow tongue or lamb tongue is too exotic, please give it a try, as it has a similar texture to beef or lamb roast, but tastes milder, sweeter and richer compared to muscle meat. Although the process may seem unfamiliar at first, making Zabaan is easy and requires only a few simple ingredients that will bring your Middle Eastern cooking game up to the next level!

The Recipe How-To

 The perfect hearty meal for cold winter nights.
The perfect hearty meal for cold winter nights.

Step 1: Boil the tongues

Firstly, boil the beef and sheep tongues separately in a pot of water for at least 2 hours until tender. Once cooked, remove the tongues from the water and peel off their skin.

Step 2: Sautee onions, garlic, and mushrooms

In a separate pan, melt butter and lightly fry onions, garlic cloves, and sliced mushrooms until golden brown.

Step 3: Add tomato paste and seasonings

Next, add in tomato paste, stirring frequently until it mixes well with the onions and mushrooms. Season with salt, black pepper, and some freshly chopped herbs like parsley or dill.

Step 4: Add the tongues

Cut the boiled tongues into small pieces before adding them to the pan with the onion mixture. Stir well to ensure that every piece is coated evenly with the sauce.

Step 5: Simmer on low heat

Pour enough water to cover all of the ingredients, then bring them to a boil before reducing heat to a low simmer for up to an hour or until the consistency of stew has formed. Don’t forget to taste-test and adjust seasoning as needed!

Step 6: Serve hot

When ready to serve this delicious Persian/Iranian beef & sheep tongue stew (Zabaan/Khorak-e-Zaban recipe), garnish your tongue stew with chopped spring onions and fresh herbs. Could also be served alongside fluffy white rice.


Substitutions and Variations

 Trust me, you won't even notice you're eating tongue in this savory dish.
Trust me, you won’t even notice you’re eating tongue in this savory dish.

Looking to switch things up and put your own spin on this traditional dish? There are several substitutions and variations you can make to cater to your own taste preferences or dietary needs.

Firstly, for those looking for a more budget-friendly option, cow tongue can be used in place of beef or sheep tongue. While it may not have the same depth of flavor as beef or sheep, it still makes for a delicious meal.

For those who are vegetarian or vegan, there are a few substitutions you can make to still enjoy the rich flavors of the stew. Mushrooms can be used in place of meat, and vegetable broth can be used instead of beef or chicken stock.

If you’re looking for a spicier version of the dish, try adding in some red pepper flakes or chopped jalapeños. For those who prefer a milder taste, consider either reducing the amount of black pepper included in the recipe or omitting it altogether.

For those who want to explore other herbs to include in the dish aside from parsley and dill, tarragon and cilantro are great options that will add an aromatic touch. You could also opt for a touch of lemon juice at the end of cooking for some extra zing.

Lastly, while zabaan is traditionally served as a stew dish, there are other ways that you can incorporate it into meals. Try slicing the stewed tongue thinly and using it as a protein in sandwiches, rolls or wraps with tomato sauce or mayonnaise if desired. Burnt onions give zabaan sandwich its iconic flavour in Iran. It’s also worth trying with some flatbread, hummus, and pickled vegetables for added depth.

No matter which way you choose to prepare this dish, substitutions or variations included or not, zabaan will be sure to tantalize the taste buds and bring Middle Eastern flavors to your kitchen.

Serving and Pairing

 A classic Persian recipe that's sure to impress your guests.
A classic Persian recipe that’s sure to impress your guests.

Zabaan, the Persian/Iranian Beef & Sheep Tongue Stew is incredibly delicious and flavorful. It’s a hearty dish that has tender, melt-in-your-mouth beef and sheep tongue that’s cooked to perfection in rich tomato-based gravy. It pairs perfectly with simple sides such as rice or bread, adding subtle textures to every mouthful.

If you want an authentic Persian experience, then serve this dish with steaming hot basmati rice. The spices and herbs will bring out the flavors in the rice, making it a drool-worthy meal. You can also opt for other grains like quinoa or couscous if you wish.

You can also pair Zabaan with bread such as Barbari or Taftoon which are Iranian flatbreads. They are perfectly designed to soak up the gravy and add a chewy texture to your meal.

To balance out the richness of the stew, I highly recommend adding a side of greens to it. Persian cucumber and tomato salad called “Shirazi Salad” is simple to make and made from ingredients readily available at any grocery store.

Finally, if you want to take things up a notch, pair Zabaan with Shiraz wine or a full-bodied Malbec wine. These wines complement the stew’s meatiness while adding depth and earthiness to your meal. Also, a cup of Persian Tea or Doogh (yogurt drink) is always a good idea.

Remember that your guests will be impressed by your presentation skills when everything looks perfect on your table. So, garnish with some chopped parsley or thinly sliced spring onions along with some lemon wedges for an added zing!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Slow-cooked to perfection for maximum tenderness and flavor.
Slow-cooked to perfection for maximum tenderness and flavor.

Zabaan is one of those stews that truly taste better the next day as the flavors have had time to meld together. If you’re planning on making this dish for a special occasion, it’s best to prepare it one or even two days ahead. The taste will only get richer and deeper with time.

To store, let the stew completely cool down at room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container. You can keep it in the fridge for up to three days or freeze it for up to two months. Make sure to label your containers with the date so you won’t forget.

Reheating zabaan is a piece of cake. You can warm it up on the stove over low heat, stirring occasionally until heated through. This method allows you to add some water if you prefer your stew to be more liquid. Alternatively, you can microwave individual portions covered with a damp paper towel to prevent drying out.

Don’t forget to sprinkle some parsley, dill or thinly sliced spring onions on top when serving for a pop of color and freshness!

Tips for Perfect Results

 The rich tomato-based broth is packed with aromatic spices.
The rich tomato-based broth is packed with aromatic spices.

As an experienced chef who has been cooking Zabaan for many years, I have learned some tricks to ensure perfect results every time. In this section, I would like to share my tips with you so that you can take your Zabaan game to the next level.

Firstly, when it comes to cooking tongue, it is essential to be patient. Tongue is a tough cut of meat that requires long and slow cooking to become tender. Therefore, you should not rush the cooking process as it will only result in tough and chewy meat. Instead, simmer the tongue for at least three hours until it is fork-tender.

Secondly, seasoning is crucial when it comes to any dish, and Zabaan is no exception. Although the recipe calls for specific amounts of salt and black pepper, I highly recommend tasting the broth frequently and adjusting the seasoning according to your taste buds. Remember, you can always add more salt and pepper but cannot remove them once added.

Thirdly, using high-quality ingredients will make a significant difference in the final taste of your Zabaan. Fresh herbs like parsley and dill add a bright and fresh aroma to this rich stew. Selecting fresh mushrooms from your local market will also elevate the dish’s flavor profile as they add a depth of earthiness once sautéed with butter.

Fourthly, don’t forget about presentation! While it is true that taste should be the number one priority when it comes to cooking, we eat with our eyes first. So don’t skimp on garnishes like spring onions or additional herbs when serving your Zabaan.

Lastly, my biggest piece of advice would be not to overcomplicate things. Cooking can be intimidating, but Zabaan is a relatively straightforward recipe that only requires basic techniques. Stick to the recipe’s instructions while trying out these tips for perfect results to impress yourself and those around you with this classic Persian/Iranian dish!


As we reach the end of this recipe article, you may still have some questions regarding the preparation of zabaan, the Persian and Iranian beef and sheep tongue stew.

Don’t worry, I’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help you troubleshoot any issues that may arise during the cooking process. Read on for answers to some common questions about zabaan.

What is Zabaan food?

I’ll be providing a detailed recipe for a dish called Zabaan, which is a Persian/Iranian stew made with beef and sheep tongues.

What does lamb tongue taste like?

Don’t judge a book by its cover, as they say – even though it may not be the most visually appealing, tongue is surprisingly similar in taste to regular meat and doesn’t have that distinct offal flavor that liver or kidneys do, since it’s actually a muscle.

What dish is made from cow tongue?

Let me show you how to make the classic Mexican delicacy, tacos de lengua. This dish features beef tongue that has been braised with garlic and onions until it’s fork-tender, finely chopped, and served with zesty salsa verde and creamy avocados. This recipe is a favorite in Mexican cuisine and it’s sure to impress your taste buds.

Bottom Line

Zabaan is a classic Persian/Iranian dish that has been enjoyed for generations. This delicious beef and sheep tongue stew is packed with amazing flavors that will tantalize your taste buds with each and every bite.

Whether you are a fan of Middle Eastern cuisine or just trying something new, this recipe is definitely one to try. Not only is it easy to make, but it can also be tailored to your dietary preferences and tastes.

With the right ingredients and some basic cooking skills, you can create a mouthwatering zabaan stew that will impress even the most discerning foodies at your dinner table.

So what are you waiting for? Head to your nearest butcher and grab some beef and sheep tongues, onions, mushrooms, garlic cloves and tomato paste. You can find the detailed recipe instructions above.

After following the recipe for zabaan stew, expect a burst of flavors in each spoonful. You can customize this recipe by substituting ingredients that don’t work for you. For instance, if you don’t eat meat, you can opt for vegetable substitutes like Portobello mushrooms.

In conclusion, zabaan stew is a must-have dish in any Iranian or Middle Eastern household; Feel confident in trying this entree because it’s a perfect meal that makes great use of every ingredient. So why not heat up your kitchen by cooking zabaan stew which I promise will be an aromatic delight?

Zabaan (Persian/Iranian Beef & Sheep Tongue Stew)

Zabaan (Persian/Iranian Beef & Sheep Tongue Stew) Recipe

Traditional Breakfast stew
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 5 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine Persian/Iranian
Calories 232.5 kcal


  • 1 beef tongue
  • 1 sheep tongue
  • 2 -3 garlic cloves
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 -4 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 500 g mushrooms
  • 100 g butter
  • 200 200 g dill (ends) or 200 g spring onions (ends)
  • salt
  • black pepper


  • Tongue is very tasty but takes a long time to cook.
  • Wash the tongue(s) carefully.
  • Add hot water and bring to a boil.
  • Remove the foam that accumulates on top.
  • Peel garlic cloves and onions, then slice them thinly.
  • Wash herbs and chop them finely.
  • Add garlic, onions, and herbs to tongue and cook over low heat for 4-5 hours, adding more hot water during cooking if necessary.
  • Salt and black pepper should be added near the end of cooking.
  • When tongue is cooked, there should be about one cup of water left.
  • Remove tongue and peel the skin while still warm.
  • Allow to cool, then cut into thin slices using a sharp knife.
  • Wash and slice mushrooms, then fry in butter for a few minutes.
  • Add tomato paste and tongue-juice and bring to a boil, then cook over medium heat for a few minutes.
  • Serve tongue with mushrooms and some fresh parsley.
  • If desired, pooreh-yeh Seeb-Zamini or Polow can also be served with tongue.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 196gCalories: 232.5kcalCarbohydrates: 10.1gProtein: 4.9gFat: 20.9gSaturated Fat: 12.9gCholesterol: 53.4mgSodium: 208.4mgFiber: 3.1gSugar: 3.6g
Keyword Asian, Breakfast, Middle Eastern
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