Iranian dishes excel at making people who have never tried them fall in love at the first bite. The unique combination of spices and flavorings with a wide range of vegetables, herbs, fruit, grains, nuts, meat and most importantly rice only needs the wand of Iranian cuisine to perform magic and leave an explosion of unforgettable tastes in the mouth. The delectable smell, delicious look and perfectly pleasant taste make it almost impossible to resist them. To share the gastronomic delights of Iran, IFP has decided to file a series of mouth-watering recipes for Iranian dishes.
Baghali Polo is an Iranian dish in which rice (Polo) is mixed with fava beans, baghali, and dill. This tasty mixed rice could be either served with fried chicken or meat. Baghali Polo is usually served at important feasts.
1. Four cups rice (400 grams)
2.350-400 grams chopped dill –You can replace it with 80-100 grams dried dill.
3. 400 grams fresh fava beans –After they are removed from pods, they should be peeled and cut in half.
4.750g–1kg cubed boneless lamb leg/beef –Cubes should be larger than bite-size pieces.
5. Two large onions –which are peeled and finely chopped.
6. Two heaped teaspoons cinnamon
7. Three level teaspoons saffron –You will need a pestle and mortar to grind it into powder; the powder should not be prepared much in advance, because it will lose part of its aromatic smell. You had better brew it with a little hot water to have better color and aroma.
8. Salt, ground black pepper and turmeric to taste
9. Three tablespoons tomato paste
10. Three to four tablespoons lemon juice
11. Two potatoes – Peel and cut them into round slices.
How to cook Baghali Polo
1. Rinse the rice with lukewarm water a few times, then soak it for a few hours in water to which four tablespoons of salt has been added. Bring some water to a boil in a pot and then add some salt to it. Put the fava beans into the pot and let them boil for about five minutes, until they turn tender. Drain the salt water from the rice and add the rice to the pot. Leave the rice in the boiling water with the fava beans until it is al dente. The rice should be neither too hard nor too soft; it should be firm and slightly chewy. Avoid overcooking the rice. Strain the rice and the fava beans in a colander and then rinse them with water to let them cool off.
2. In a bowl, mix half a cup of brewed saffron with a small ladle of oil or 50 grams of melted butter. The amount of oil or butter is subject to change; you can adjust it to your liking.
3.Drizzle oil into a pot over a medium heat, so that a thin layer of oil covers the bottom surface of it. When the oil gets hot, turn down the flame and place the round slices of potatoes at the bottom of the pot.
4. Add a few spatulas of the rice and fava beans into the pot over the potato slices and cover it with a layer of dill. Pour a few spoons of saffron and oil on top of them. Repeat layering until no rice and dill are left. Wrap the lid in a piece of cloth and put it on the pot. The cloth won’t let the steam find its way out of the pot. It also absorbs drops of water formed as a result of condensation.
To help the steam form, turn up the heat for a few minutes and then turn the flame down. Be careful not to burn the potato slices. By the time the food is ready, they should be crispy and golden. The mixed rice usually takes about an hour over a low flame to cook.
5.Fry the onions in a pan with ground black pepper and turmeric until they turn golden brown. Add the meat cubes and fry them until they turn brown on all sides.
Spoon in the tomato paste; stir it frequently to prevent it from burning. Then add about five tablespoons of brewed saffron to the contents of the pot and give it 2-3 minutes. Pour water into the pot to submerge the meat and keep the lid on to bring it to the boil. Afterward, turn down the heat to let it simmer.
Toward the end of cooking add salt, cinnamon and lemon juice to the pot.
6. Put some spatulas of the mixed rice on your serving dish, then place some meat cubes on top it and cover them with some more rice. The gravy should be served in a separate dish along with the rice. The crispy potatoes can be either used as a garnish on top of the rice or served as a side dish.