Reshteh polo, a traditional Persian recipe of rice and noodles that is customarily eaten during Nowruz, the Persian New Year.
- Liquid Saffron
- A pinch of saffron (about 20 pistils, if you’re counting!)
- tiny pinch of salt
- 6 Tbsp hot water
- 400g (2 cups) basmati rice
- 200g (7oz) reshteh (they can’t really be measured in a cup)
- 2 large onions, sliced in rings
- 100g (3 1/2 oz) raisins
- 100g (3 1/2 oz) pitted dates, chopped roughly
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 3 Tbsp EV olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large potato, sliced thinly, see picture above
- 2 Tbsp salted butter
- 2 Tbsp EV olive oil
- a sprinkle of salt
- some slithered or chopped pistachios
Let’s Start with the Liquid Saffron
- Crush the saffron and salt, using a pestle and mortar, to a powder. The salt aids the crushing. A round and round motion is better here than pounding, because the saffron pistils are fairly tiny and flat.
- Add the hot water, and leave to stand while you get all the other ingredients ready.
Parboiling the Rice and Noodles
- Bring a large, roomy saucepan full of water to boil on high heat. Add the salt to it.
- Rinse your rice.
- When the water is boiling, tip the rice and noodles in and bring back to boil on medium heat. Cook for 7 minutes, then drain the rice and give it a rinse in cool/cold tap water (depending on the season). Drain and set aside. While the rice and noodles are boiling, let’s attend to the onions, raisins and dates.
Onions, raisins and dates
- Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a roomy frying pan over medium heat. Tip in the sliced onion rings and fry on this heat for 1 minute.
- Then lower the heat down to medium-low and fry for a good 5-7 minutes until your onions are a golden brown. Tip out onto a plate.
- In the same pan, fry the dates for 1 minute, in 1/2 Tbsp of olive oil. Tip out.
- Next, follow with the dates, in 1/2 Tbsp of oil again, again for about a minute. The chopped up dates will most likely clump up, don’t worry about it. We’ll break them up when using. Tip out onto a plate.
Steaming the Rice, starting with potato tahdig.
- Wash out and dry the saucepan you used to parboil the rice, then place it on medium heat.
- Heat the 2 Tbsp of butter and 2 Tbsp of olive oil, swirling to coat the base thoroughly.
- Line the base of the pan with the potato slices, making up 2 layers. Press down with a spatula.
- Gradually add half the rice on top of the tahdig, ladle by ladle. Season with a small sprinkle of salt and some pepper.
- Scatter half the onions, raisins and dates all over. And drizzle 2 Tbsp of the liquid saffron all over. Finally top with pinches of 2 Tbsp of butter.
- Follow with the rest of the rice, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle another 2 Tbsp of liquid saffron all over.
- Using your ladle, bring the rice in from the edges, forming a slight conical shape.
- Wrap the saucepan lid up with the towel and place on the saucepan, ensuring it’s a tight fit. The towel is there to absorb any excess moisture, preventing soggy rice. Make sure your tea towel is nowhere near the flame!
- Cook on medium-low heat for 5 minutes, then lower the heat right down and let the rice steam away for 40 minutes. You will end up with a beautiful golden brown potato tahdig, with tiny burnt bits. The best part!
- When the rice is done, take it off the heat, top with pinches of 2 Tbsp of butter, cover, and leave to rest for 10 minutes before you start dishing up.
Serving Reshteh Polo
- Dish up the rice onto a large platter, being careful not to break up the potato tahdig. Top the rice with the remaining liquid saffron, onions, raisins and dates.
- Finish off with some pistachios, if using.
- Carefully lift out the tahdig and serve up on a different plate. Or you could break it up and surround your reshteh polo with it. Noushe jan!
- Category: Main Course
- Cuisine: Persian