I love trying simple vegetarian dishes from other cuisines. Being a rice lover, it is no surprise that I loved this simple and flavorful Persian dill rice very much. The original version of Iranian Baghali Polo uses tender fresh fava beans. Since I could not get fava beans, I have substituted with fresh pigeon peas. When making Persian style rice,”Tahgid” is very important. According to Wikipedia – Tahdig (Persian: tah “bottom” + dīg “pot”) is a speciality of Iranian cuisine consisting of crisp rice taken from the bottom of the pot in which the rice is cooked. It is traditionally served to guests at a meal. Ingredients commonly added to tahdig include yogurt and saffron, bread, potato and tomato. Today we are going to make Persian style rice with tahdig using potatoes, creating a crusty bottom in the pan. Now to the recipe with step wise pictures.
Parboil the beans and keep it aside.
Wash, peel the potatoes and slice it into roundels (neither too thick nor too thin).
Wash rice several times until the water is clear. Soak rice for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Bring 6 cups of water to boil, add the drained rice.
Add salt to the rice. Cook rice until until al dente or 3/4 done. It will take around 5-6 minutes.
Drain the rice in a colander. Pour cold water to prevent it from cooking further. Drain the water again and spread it on a plate to cool.
Saffron preparation – Take saffron in a small bowl, add a pinch of salt or sugar to it. Pound it in a motor and pestle and add 3 tbsp of boiling water to it. Set aside.
Pour oil in a non stick pan. Heat the oil on very low flame and add 2 tbsp of saffron water and a pinch of salt.
Swirl the pan so that the saffron gets mixed with the oil well.
Arrange the potato slices to cover the base of the pan as shown in the picture below. Sprinkle little salt over the potatoes. Cook for 5 minutes on low heat before adding the rice.
Add a layer of rice and cover the potatoes.
Add a layer of par boiled beans. On top of it, add dried dill. If you can get fresh dill leaves, I recommend adding fresh leaves.
Add the second layer of rice, then top it with beans and dried dill leaves.
Finally end it with rice. Make 3-4 holes using the back of a wooden ladle, so that the vapours cooks the rice throughly. Add a tbsp of butter.
Add the remaining saffron water. Wrap the lid of the pan with a cotton towel and close the pan. The towel will absorb the vapours, preventing it from soaking the rice.
Cook on medium heat for 5 mins and turn the heat to very low and cook for 45 mins.
After 45 minutes – the rice is well cooked. I have inverted the pan on a plate to show you the crispy Tahdig (Potato tahdig). It looks lovely.
Gently scoop rice along with the crispy potato (tahdig) and serve. Usually Iranian Baghali Polo is accompanied by a meat dish. But, if you are a vegetarian, you can make any onion tomato based gravy to go along with it. You will find many tomato based side dish recipes here.
Enjoy making Persian Style Dill Rice and give me your feedback.
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