This is one of the easiest yet among the most colorful and appetizing Persian foods which usually finds its way in to big formal parties and gatherings. The two main ingredients – barberries and saffron are relatively expensive, therefore the food is considered prestigious, if simple in making.
Ingredients (serving 4-5): Rice (ideally, any type of Basmati), 3 cups. Barberries, 1 ½ cups. Sugar, 2 tbsp. Saffron powder, 2 teaspoons. Salt, 2 tbsp. (this is for soaking the rice). Cooking oil and water.
Start with picking over barberries. Sometime you need to be extra careful with solid particles of grit. Place the barberries in a small colander and soak it in a bowl of cold water for an hour. Change the water and repeat the process if necessary. Rinse thoroughly and drain.
Make your rice, as you would with plain rice – by soaking it in advance in salted water for at least a few hours in advance, semi-cook it in boiled water and steam-cook it for an hour. See here for the full instruction. Read the rest of this entry »
Ingredients (for 2-3):
- Defrosted or fresh half-cooked shrimp, 450 gr. ( I recommend “Marbel”).
- Onion, 2 small to medium, thinly sliced.
- Dried seedless raisin, rinsed, ½ cup.
- Dried walnuts, rinsed and chopped, ½ cup. (If you have time, it is a good idea to soak walnuts, change the water a few times before using them for this or any other recipe)
- Olive oil: 4 tbsp.
- Turmeric, 1 tea spoon.
- Saffron, ground, 1/2 teaspoon (soaked in 1 tbsp. of warm water for an hour).
- Salt and pepper as needed.
- And of course rice: 2 or 3 cups, depending how rich you want the mix to be. What you see in this picture is made with 2 cups of rice.
Method: remove the entire shelf and devein the shrimp. Wash and drain, then cut them all in half or smaller. In a frying pan, heat 2 tbsp. oil and fry onions over medium heat till translucent. Add shrimp, turmeric, salt and pepper and fry for about five minutes over high heat. Once the shrimp is slightly golden, turn the heat back to medium and add walnuts, raisins and diluted saffron. Continue stirring and frying for another 1-2 minutes, but not longer. Set aside.
Prepare the rice in usual way (soaked in salted water, drained, boiled in lots of water, drained, and steamed cooked for at least one hour). Just before mounting the rice back into the pot (after you have poured some oil in the bottom of the pot, warmed it up, and put sliced potatoes, flat bread or rice at the bottom to make your “tah dig”), mix the rice with the contents of your frying pan. As is always the case with any type of Iranian style plain or mixed rice, you cover the lead and turn the heat to minimum till you get enough steam accumulated inside the pot. That’s when you wrap the lid in a clean cloth and let it steam cook for at least an hour. You could also transfer rice and the frying pan’s contents into the pot in layers: one layer of drained, plain rice and one layer of shrimp mix, and repeat till the end. If you choose to transfer them back to the pot in layers, you would need to mix the two more thoroughly once the dish is ready to be served.
Variation: You can skip dried raisins, walnuts and saffron, and use potato, and dried lime powder instead. This latter version is the one I learned from my parents who were brought up in Iran’s Southern cities of Bushehr and Shiraz. This Method is not that different from the first one, but the taste certainly is: more seafood like, if you will. Here it is:
- Shrimp, onion, turmeric, oil, salt and pepper the same as above.
- Plus: Potatoes, 1 medium, peeled, rinsed, patted dry and cut in small cubes.
- Dried lime powder, 1 tbsp.
Method: In a frying pan, heat half your oil and fry cubed potatoes until slightly golden. Transfer them into a bowl. Use the same pan and heat the rest of your oil. Add shrimp, turmeric and fry on high heat for a few minutes until shrimps change colour. Stir constantly. Add fried potatoes, dried lime powder, salt and pepper and fry for 5-6 minutes on medium heat until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed. This is your shrimp mix. Follow the exact same rest of the instruction given above.
I promised to post Iranian norooz-specific traditional dish, mixed herb rice and fish (sabzi polow mahi), since traditionally it is prepared and served on the first day of spring (often, along with kookoo sabzi). Well, better late than never! The good news is that the recipe I have here is the easiest AND the most delicious one – cross my heart! Special thanks to my sister, Atefeh the chef!
Ingredients (6 serving) Read the rest of this entry »
The Persian name of the above dish is “shevid baghali polow” with “goosht” 🙂 It is considered a festive dish, with so many variations in different Iranian cities. My culinary adventure in this case includes preparing the meat component of the dish in “pot roast” style.
I strongly recommend it over the more traditional way of “cooking’ the meat in water.
Part 1: Pot Roast
- Veal (or beef) boneless chunks appropriate for roast (loin, or fillet), 500-600 grams, washed and patted dry.
- Carrot, 1 medium, thickly sliced lengthwise.
- onions, 2 medium, thickly sliced lengthwise.
- Garlic, 3 cloves.
- Olive oil, 2 tbsp.
- Turmeric and Iranian all spice (advieh) for mixed rice, ½ tbsp. each.
- Saffron 1 tea spoon.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
Method: In a medium size thick-bottomed pot, heat oil. Rob salt, pepper, and advieh all over meat’s chunks and brown each side for a few minutes over medium heat. Transfer the roasts into a platter. Add onions and garlic to the pan and cook for two minutes, then add carrots on the top. Sit the roast on top of onions and carrot. Turn the heat to minimum, cover with a tight lid and slow cook for at least two hours. You will not need to add any water at all! The roast will release its liquid and cooks itself at the core in the water produced by onions and carrots. You will see that at the end of cooking process (two hours or so) you will get a thick tasty broth and an extremely tender and savory roast meat.
Part 2: Mixed rice:
- Rice, 4 cups.
- Fresh or defrosted broad beans, shelled, skinned and split in two, 400gr. (never use canned broad beans! They are already too cooked, or too transformed in color and taste for this purpose. The picture shows what I easily find here in Montreal in the Middle Eastern supermarkets)
- Fresh dill, washed and chopped, ½ cup + 2 tbsp. dried dill.
- Turmeric, ¼ tbsp.
- Pinch of saffron.
- Salt, oil, water, as needed.
Method: Prepare rice in usual way as if for plain rice (soaked in salted water, drained, boiled in lots of water, drained, and steamed cooked for at least one hour). This type of mixed polow is a bit different from the others in two ways:
1) At the stage when you add your soaked and drained rice to the boiling water, add a pinch of turmeric.
2) Just before you judge the grains to have been cooked at the core and ready to go to the colander, add the board beans as well. They should not cook in the water more than a couple of minutes though or will go mushy. Drain rice (now mixed with broad beans) in a fine meshed colander. Do so a bit earlier than you normally would. Once in colander, add the dried and fresh dill and shake the colander hard a few times (do not stir). Prepare the pot’s bottom with oil and bread or rice for tahdig, mound the mixture of rice, dill, beans back to the pot. Sprinkle a pinch of saffron and 2 tbsp. of broth (from your pot roast) and cover the pot with the lid. When you notice steams building inside the pot, wrap the lid in a clean kitchen cloth and put it back on. Allow at least one hour for the mixed polow to steam cook.
You could serve the mixed rice and the roast veal, accompanied by its cooked onion and broth separately. I rather place the meat in the middle of the mixed rice and serve separately only its broth for those who prefer their plate a bit juicier. Like many other mixed-polow, this one should be served hot and it goes very well with Iranian torshi, fresh herbs and Shirazi salad
This is another popular and hearty “mixed polow” usually served with fried or roasted chicken (or ground beef) and considered a casual and convenient dish. Well, I make it in a quite presentable (read fancy) way, without any kind of. Even before I realized how protein rich and nutritious lentil was, I always thought the dish is a perfect vegetarian meal and found it quite hearty on its own. So, my version of “adas polow” is meatless yet simply fancy!
Ingredients (serving 4): Rice, 3 cups. Green lentil” 1 ½ . Onion, 1 big, thinly sliced. Dried seedless raisin ½ cup, washed and dried. Oil: 4-5 tbsp. Turmeric, ¼ tbsp. Ground saffron, 2 teaspoon (1 soaked in 1 tbsp. of hot water for half an hour) salt, pepper and water as needed. Read the rest of this entry »
I can eat this mix-polow as a complete main dish, but it is very common to have it with fried fish in the southern part of Iran. It might also be served with large chunks of boiled or baked beef or even fried and steam-cooked chicken.