Sabzi Polo is a wonderful polow /pilaf/pulao dish from Iran made using mixed fresh herbs. It is usually served with grilled white fish during the Norouz or Iranian New Year. I found an excellent recipe from here and made accordingly.The main thing to be considered while making sabzi polo is that rice is half cooked first and then mixed with herbs and finished cooking. The way the dish is done is interesting atleast the recipe I followed was. I served it with Persian style Kidney beans.
Basmathi Rice: 1 cup
Mixed Fresh herbs: chopped : I used cilantro,parsley,dill,spinach and methi leaves.
Scallions: 1-2 including the green part.
Salt& Pepper: as needed per taste
Cumin Powder: 1/2 -1 tsp
Cinnamon power: 1/2 -1 tsp
Oil: 1-2 tsp
Melted Butter: for garnish (optional)
Wash basmati rice and soak it in salted water for atleast 6-8 hours or overnight.
Bring a big pot of water to boil.Add in the rice and let it cook till half done. Drain the rice and wash it in cold water to prevent further cooking and keep aside.
Rinse and chop the herbs and keep aside.
Take a suitable vessel,grease the botton with oil .Spread a layer of rice evenly on the pot.You can give it a tight press so that it spreads evenly.Sprinkle little salt,pepper,cumin and cinnamon.Top the layer with half of the herb mix and lightly fluff to mix.I did not fluff and had got alternate white and green layers.Top the herbs optionally with more spices and salt. Top this with another rice layer and repeat the rice-herb layering process to get three rice layers and all the herbs and rice are used up.
Cover tightly with a lid and steam in a pressure cooker for about 45 minutes to 1 hr and 35 minutes depending on the cooking time of the rice. I went for 1 hour by which time the herbs were all cooked and their juices had spread into rice.
Serve warm topped with melted butter -I did not use butter- along with grilled fish or kidney bean gravy or anyother gravy or raitha of your choice.You can slightly mix in the layers before serving.
To be honest I was sceptical how the rice would turn out.But I have had more successes than failure with rice dishes and was partially confident that it would be good. The only addition from my part was the use of pepper. The spices mentioned would not be enough to heat up my tastebuds,hence pepper which also goes well with the herbs.
Use the herbs according to the taste. Fenugreek or "shanbelileh" in Persian had the least quantity mentioned in the recipe and so I used just few tablespoons. Where as spinach and cilantro were used more and mostly dominate. I used dill and parsley in minimal quantities and they just add a hint to the rice. A cross section of the rice will look like..
This too is on its way to AWED:Iran at Sweet Artichoke's, an event by DK. And hey more on the gravy in the next post,.. watch this space for more...