Posts Tagged ‘basmati rice’

Baghali Polow1 (Medium)

Let me start this post by saying that I have always had trouble with making rice that is mixed with anything.  I have always found that making khoresht with white rice is the easiest thing for me to do.  I have made mixed rice a number of times but what I have always found difficult is finding the right balance between the rice and the other ingredients.  Here comes the truth, I have had some serious disasters with mixed rice. The very first time that I made Estamboli Polow, rice with green beans, it was a pathetic, pathetic sight. Here is the thing though, I am stubborn and I have not been known to back down a challenge.  So I keep trying until practice makes perfect, at the expense of my wonderful and supporting husband! 🙂

A couple of weeks ago I craved Baghali Polow and decided that it was time to roll up my sleeves and give it my best try. Additionally, I had also realized that in my repertoire of posted recipes, I had not yet graced my readers with a Polow. I am such a giver ain’t I??

You asked what Polow is? Persians refer to rice that is mixed with other ingredients as Polow. White rice is simply refered to as Chelow.

So I consulted three cookbooks for ratios for this recipe. I also decided to go all out and make lamb shank to go with it. All was good until the end. I ended up under cooking the tahdig, and and and wait for this, the rice was not flavorful enough, in my opinion.  But the lamb shank was fabulous! I will post that recipe next. I felt somewhat defeated about the polow and figured that I would have to practice some more.

Then we flew out to Seattle and the night that we got there we wanted to cook dinner for our friend Winford and his roommate/landlord Dirk as they were hosting us at their house.  We were walking through Pike Place Market trying to figure out what to make after we took a fun guided tour of the market.

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Winford suggested making something different that would “wow” Dirk.  He soon declared that we should make Persian food. Who am I to turn down “wowing” someone with Persian food??? After all I am the one who has a blog solely dedicated to Perisan food.  We did some brain storming and I was persuaded  into making Baghali Polow.  My resistance to the idea went to deaf ears.  I started sweating at the idea that this was going to be too much pressure. It had been a long day already. I was surviving completely on coffee as we had left our house at 5:30am to catch our plane to Seattle.  I was forced to go to Starbucks to get coffee in the morning because there was nothing else in the terminal close to gate and when I came to pour the half and half the whole lid of the flask just fell into my coffee splashing all over my pretty green linen shirt and the counter. As that was not enough once we landed in Seattle I came to use my phone and it didn’t work.  Fortunately, The Sous Chef’s phone worked so we called our friend to tell him we had landed. But I ended spending 45 minutes on the phone with Verizon until they got my phone working out of state. It is a good thing that we have a national plan…yeah. So did I really want to end the day by making a fool out of myself and my cooking skills? Hell NO!

We went shopping and bought all the necessary ingredients including the spices necessary to make Advieh along with some delicious sounding tea mixes for me!

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I went to work once we got home. AND ladies and gentleman, I DID IT! I decided to do a couple of things differently and the results were awesome.  I lost count of how many times Winford went back for more. And the best part of it all, he asked for the recipe. Score!

So here it is, this one is for you Winford!


3 cups of basmati rice

1 (14 oz) package of Fava beans (lima beans can be substituted), must be peeled

3 large bunches of fresh dill (equivalent to about 5-6 cups)

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tbsp of yogurt

1 pinch of saffron

3-4 tsp of advieh

canola or vegetable oil

salt & pepper

The first thing to do for this recipe is prepare the rice the same way you would for white rice or chelow.  Once you have placed the rice in a strainer stop and pick up from here.

Baghali Polow2 (Small)

Clean and chop the dill in batches.

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Here is my added step that made a huge difference. The first time around I didn’t saute the fava beans, I just added them to the rice.  SO, saute fava beans and garlic in some oil for about 5-6 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

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Add saffron water to yogurt as you would for the white rice recipe.

Baghali Polow4 (Small)

Mix a couple of spatulas of rice with yogurt.

Baghali Polow5 (Small)

Add enough water to cover the bottom of the pot. This should be a thin layer. Add 3 tbsp of  Canola Oil. Give it a shaking so that water and oil mix a little.

Baghali Polow6 (Small)

Layer the bottom of the pot with rice and yogurt mixture.

Baghali Polow7 (Small)

Add a generous amount of dill and then cover with a small layer of rice.

Baghali Polow9 (Small)

Sprinkle 1 tsp of advieh over the rice. On top of it add a generous layer of fava beans.

Baghali Polow10 (Small)

Then add a very generous layer of dill. Every recipe that you will read, will tell you to just layer. My grandma always used to mix the rice and ingredients a little bit. Very gently with a spoon mix the rice, fava beans, and dill. Continue layering until you are out of both rice and the rest of the ingredients.

Baghali Polow8 (Small)

Your last layer should always be rice. I like to sprinkle a little advieh on top.

Baghali Polow15 (Small)

With the back of your spatula create some hole making sure that you don’t go past the yogurt and rice mix.

Baghali Polow11 (Small) Cover and cook on high for 10 minutes. Then place a towel over the lid, as shown above, and cook on medium-low for 1 hour.

Baghali Polow12 (Small)

For this type of rice I suggest adding some butter or oil half way through the cooking process. Just melt 2-3 table spoons of butter and pour over the rice. You can also add some saffron to the butter. This will not only add a layer of flavor, but it will also give some of the rice a deep yellow color.

Baghali Polow 13 (Small)

As a bonus here are two pictures of our first dinner in Seattle. Instead of using yogurt the boys requested potatoes as part of the tahdig. This is rather easy to make. Instead of using yogurt and saffron you can layer the bottom of the pot with potatoes. All you have to do is go ahead and place water and oil to the bottom of the pan, I added 2 extra tbsp of oil because of the potatoes. Layer the top with rice making sure that you fill up the gaps between the potatoes with rice. Continue layering as shown above. The cooking process remains the same. If your tagdig doesn’t come out easily, just fill up your sink with a couple of inches of water and place the pot in there for a couple of minutes. Then try again. It should come out tout suite!

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We had ourselves a fabulous evening eating al fresco. Here are the boys setting up our dinner table. The Sous Chef was busy de-boning the fish in this picture.

Which reminds me, we bought some fish from Pike Place Market to have with our Baghali Polow. Now look at them studs below: the fine men who work at the fish market at Pike Place Market.  Have you seen this month’s (June 2009) Sunset Magazine? There is a picture of the hottie on the left in there. And I,  little nobody that I am, got to go behind the counter and take a picture with all three of them!!! Good Times!

Seattle 2009 069 (Small)

More on the fish that we made and ate will be shared in another post along with more pictures of the hot fishermen.  As a last note, I would like to add that generally the rice dish that accompanies fish in Persian food is Sabzi Polow, Herbed Rice. But I personally, think that Baghali Polow is also a nice complement to fish.  Enjoy!!!!

This dish can qualify as a vegan dish by omitting yogurt and butter and subsituting with canola or vegetable oil.


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This page has been moved to My Persian Kitchen: Rice Cooking Method

White Rice1 (Medium)

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Did I mention how much I love it when people leave comments? I do, I really really do!

Todays’ post is yet another response to a comment. To be precises, a second question from Wendy. This is what she had to say:

Now I am going to move on to the rice cooker question…what model would you recommend? Najmieh Batmanglij uses a “National Deluxe” rice cooker but I can’t seem to find one, not even on line. And all the common models at Target, Walmart, etc. seem to be specifically designed to NOT burn your rice!

As I mentioned in the reply comment to her, Persian Rice Cookers are VERY different than regular rice cookers.  Now I am no engineer, nor do I aspire to be one.  To diviate for a moment, a few years back I had a roommate who is an electrical engineer.  I remember us talking about the difference between a Persian rice cooker, and say an Asian rice cooker. He gave me a little engineer spill and frankly I don’t remember a hoot from the conversation. OK let me be honest,  he was talking out of his bun because for the love of God he works in the aerospace industry AND he is not Persian. I have no doubts about him being very knowledgeable about the most minuscule chip that goes on a satellite, but when it comes to rice cookers I can say with certainty that he was just talkin’!

So anyway, now that I told you this story, it reinforces the fact that I know nothing about the engineering aspect of it. BUT I can tell you that there are three components to the Persian rice cookers that are different than regular ones:

1) The rice cooker is built in such way that a crust, affectionately and lovingly known as tahdig is created at the bottom.

2) The rice does not come out like sticky rice.

3) Persian Rice Cookers are more expensive than regular ones, BUT well worth the money.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I love my rice cooker. It is a Royal Cook and it holds 10 cups. It was given to me by a friend when I moved into my very own apartment in Redondo Beach five or six years ago.  It has been a wonderful gift which has been used a lot. The Sous Chef is a pro at using it. Good thing he married me because I came with a Persian rice cooker!!

For the folks who live in cities with an abumdance of Persians stores, it is a very easy task to purchase a Persian Rice Cooker.  All you have to do is simply go a Persian store and buy one.  For Wendy this is a bit more of a challenge, she lives in Oklahoma. I guess not enough of my people live there to have many stores. I did an online search and I found the following info. The first two are from Mage’s website and the third I found in a Yahoo thread:

4621 N. May
Oklahoma City, OK 73112
(405) 947-7788

Travel by Taste Market & Restaurant
4818 N. McArthur
Warr Acres, OK 73122
(405) 787-2969

Abadan Gyros
7300 NW 10th

I don’t know in which city in OK you live Wendy, but here are some options. Generally, Persian stores all carry Persian Rice Cookers.

If the above stores are not close to you, then your next option is to order online. Here is what I found:

Click here for Google Shopping results

Click here for Sadaf’s website

I hope this helps. Let me know what you end up doing!


The Chef 🙂


I just realized that I forgot to address one of the things that Wendy brough up: brand of Rice Cookers. Unfortunately, I don’t know the answer to this one either! I am on a roll here. As I mentioned I have a Royal Cook and I am very happy with it.

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I love sign-in and seeing that people have left comments.  I love the fact that I have created two posts based on what a couple of people have asked in the comments. Well here is a third one! You asked and you shall receive my dear readers.

In a recent comment Wendy said:

I’d love to hear your thoughts about making perfect tahdig on an electric stove. I’ve made it about 10 times and still haven’t managed to get it just right. Guess I should break down and buy a rice cooker.

Truth be told I know nothing about electric stoves.  Fortunately for me every place that I have ever lived has had a gas stove, which frankly to me are simply the best for cooking.  I am mildly snobbish when it comes to stoves because there is something about seeing the flame under the stuff that you are cooking that cannot be experienced through an electric stove. I believe that when you cook with a gas stove you can better control the temperature at which you cook.

I have seen many people make Persian rice on electric stove before and clearly it can be done.  One thing that I have noticed that people who have an electric stove do is place a layer of aluminum foil at the bottom of the pan, then place the rice on top of it and proceed to cook the rice regularly.  Beyond this information I don’t know much.

On  the matters of owning a rice cooker, I am all for it. I have one and I LOVE it. Some people don’t like the way rice comes out of a rice cooker because they say that it is not as fluffy as it is when you steam it. I do agree with this, but at the same time making rice in a rice cooker is essentially fool proof as long as you become familiar with your rice cooker and get the rice and water ratio correct.

I know this out of experience as it took me a few tries until I figured out that the perfect ratio for my rice cooker is one to one.  Besides this, the other cool thing about a rice cooker is the fact that you simply throw everything in there and in about one hour you have yourself some with a fabulous looking tahdig.

With all of this said, I would love to hear the opinion of those who have an electric stove and make Persian rice.  How does your rice come out? Talk to me pleeeeaaase!

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