This month’s featured country for the MENA Cooking Club is Iran! Yes! How exciting is that! The three recipes that I submitted were Reshteh Polow, Asheh Mast, Yogurt Soup, and Sholeh Zard, Persian Saffron Pudding.
Here is my Reshteh Polow recipe which I posted a few years ago. Please stop by and look at the other bloggers’ recipe as well! You’ll find links to their post at the bottom of this post.
While I was doing research for this recipe I found out a couple of fun facts about Reshteh polow as well. This polow is one of the most traditional Persian dishes, and it is traditionally made and consumed in the evening of the new year. How appropriate is this for this time of the year? Additionally, reshteh is always consumed during the new year festivities as it symbolizes good fortune in the path ahead.
Ingredients (serves 4)
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
1/4 cup raisins
1 onion, fine diced
4oz of reshteh (you can substitute with capellini)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp saffron
1/8 tsp turmeric
handful of slivered pistachios and almonds, toasted just prior to use
3-4 tbsp butter*
2 tbsp canola oil
Sauté onion until nice and golden.
In the mean time remove pit from dates. Cut them in quarters and dice them.
Sauté Reshteh in butter until golden. Stay close as they burn easily.
Prepare rice as you would for Chelow. However, add more salt than you would normally as the noodles and rice will be cooked together for this dish. As soon as your throw in the rice add the reshteh as well.
When the onion is nice and golden add 1 tbsp of butter.
Add turmeric and cinnamon. Give them all a nice stir.
Add dates and raisins. Give them a nice stir.
Add orange peel. Also season to taste with salt. Please don’t skip on the salt. You can totally taste the difference when you don’t add salt. I learned that lesson the first time!!!! Also if the mixture seems a bit too dry to you, add 1 more tablespoon of butter.
Once you have strained your rice, place 2 tbsp of canola oil with enough water to cover the bottom of the pan.
Add one layer of rice.
Sprinkle about 1/4 tsp of advieh.
Place half of the date, raisin, orange peel, and onion mixture on top. Repeat with one more layer of rice and the remainder of the mixture. End the layers with rice.
With the back of the spatula make 5 holes around the rice.
Cook covered on high for 10 minutes.
Ground the saffron. Dissolve ground saffron in 1/4 cup of hot water. Add 1 tbsp of melted butter and mix well. Pour all over rice.
Cover the lid with a towel. Steam rice on low for one hour.
Once the polow is done place the rice in a dish and sprinkle the almonds and pistachios on top. The polow above is the one that I made on Christmas Day.
Break down the dahdig and serve it in a seperate dish.
* Vegans, use either vegan butter or canola oil