my noosi’s dill herbed rice {شوید پلو} with black-eyed peas {loobia cheshm bolboli}: shevid polow


persian style dill herbed rice with blackened peasas soon as i saw the beautifully green bunches of fresh dill at the market i knew what i wanted (or almost had) to make with them. dill-herbed rice, or shevid-polow as we call it in farsi. dill is one of my absolute favorite herbs i can never resist buying when it is in season looking all fresh and darkish green and beautiful. i love the scent it creates and leaves in my kitchen as i chop it, and the slightly different aroma that surrounds me as it steams away with the basmati rice. [talking

black eyed peas and rice

about scents and aromas reminds me of a side note: this post on the lovely perfume blog kafkaesque references mine on baghali polow, another dish loaded with fresh dill]. as with most my food obsessions, i first fell in love with dill in my grandmother’s kitchen in Tehran-it seems to me she was always chopping herbs-or maybe i was so often around when she did, because i loved watching (and smelling) her doing it so much. it was the way she bunched them tightly together with one hand while gracefully slicing them ever so thinly with the other. she was a true expert with the knife. and so many other things. thinking back on it, hers was not a sophisticated kitchen with many fancy gadgets-but trust me when i tell you some serious magic happened there. and boy was i lucky to be a small part of it as taster/assistant/taster/observer/taster in chief.

finely chopped dill even though i didn’t fully realize it then, she was constantly, indirectly, and deliberately teaching me things every time i was with her.  i can hear her voice in my head: sharing, reminding, cautioning, praising, cautioning some more. one of the dishes she taught me was shevid polow layered with her favorite beans: black-eyed peas, or “cheshm bolboli” (translates to parrot eyes for obvious reasons). It is the type of absolutely delicious nourishing dish that reminds you of all good things and fills you with pure (stomach) contentment. well worth the work and the wait.

how to make shevid polow  {for 4-6}:

  • making persian rice with herbs2-2.5 cups finely chopped fresh dill (remove the thicker stalks, wash, allow dill to dry, then chop)
  • 2-3 cups basmati rice, washed several times in water until it runs clear
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1-2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1-2 tsp toasted cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp dry rose petals (optional)
  • 1 tsp ground saffron
  • 1-1.5  cups black-eyed peas, cooked (soak overnight and cook until just tender)
  • sea salt to taste (and for boiling the rice)

persian steamed rice with herbs

    1. bring a big pot (non stick) of salted water to boil (about 6-8 cups). add washed and drained basmati rice. allow it to come to a rolling boil and  keep the heat on high for about 7-9 minutes. turn off the heat and drain the rice in a mesh colander. wash with cold water and allow it to drain. also see this recipe for inspiration.
    2. add about 3-4 tbs of vegetable oil, 2-3 tsp of water and 1/2 of the ground saffron (or 4-6 saffron strands seeped in hot water) to the nonstick pan. heat together for 1-2 minutes on high. remove from heat and add a thin layer of rice, followed by a generous layer of dill and black-eyed peas (see pictures above). sprinkle evenly and lightly with cumin seeds, sea salt to taste, and cinnamon. (with your hands or a spatula) carefully combine everything together as you go.
    3. repeat this process until your ingredients are used and you have created a “dome” or pyramid of layers. top with remaining saffron and a generous sprinkle of cinnamon, cumin seeds, and rose petals. drizzle with another 3-4 tbs of oil (using a slotted spatula to evenly distribute) and about 1/4 cup of water.
    4. cover the pot first with a paper towel or clean dishtowel and then tightly with the lid. Heat the pot on high for about 8-10 minutes (stay close to the pot)-this will help create the favorite crispy rice (tag-deeg) at the bottom of the pot. reduce the heat after 10 minutes (at most) to med/low and allow the rice to steam for another 45 minutes to an hour. serve with saffron braised chicken, veal or lamb shanks and a shirazi salad (tomatoes, persian cucumbers, green onions, mint, lime juice, olive oil, sea salt & pepper).

shevid polow tahdeeg


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{mock} baghali polow: delicious basmati {brown} rice with fava beans and dill

there is no doubt that “baghali polow” is one of the most popular persian dishes. the reason is not hard to understand…fluffy basmati rice layered with soft and tender (double peeled) fava beans, fresh garlic (that’s how it’s done in my family) and lots of freshly chopped dill. it is often served with saffron braised lamb or veal shanks or chicken, and it always satisfies. problem is, you eat too much of it-and that’s why i’ve recently come up with an adapted version with brown rice that tastes just as good, and is possibly better for you. for this recipe you will need a good amount of double peeled fava beans (found in the frozen section of persian markets if you have one near you). you can replace the fava beans with cooked black eyed peas (loobia cheshm boloboli) or lima beans for an equally delicious meal. last night we ate it with a vegetarian ceviche-it was a great combination.

ingredients for 2-3 servings (you can double or triple it):

  • 1 cup brown basmati rice, *cooked (or long grain basmati rice for original version)
  • 2 cups double peeled fava beans
  • 1 large or 2 small (about 1 cup chopped) bunches fresh dill, finely chopped
  • sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground saffron (or a few strands seeped in hot water)
  • 2-3 tsp persian rice “advieh” (in equal parts toasted cumin seeds, crushed rose buds, cinnamon)
  • 3 tbs safflower oil (or your vegetable oil of choice)

* to cook the brown rice: rinse the rice several times in cold water, then add to a pot with 2 cups of lightly salted water (ratio of 1 cup of rice for 2 cups of water), bring to a boil, let the water reduce on medium/high temperature-this takes about 15-20 minutes. when most of the water is gone, bring the heat to low and cover the pot, cook for another 20 minutes or so.

1. heat 2 tbs oil in a heavy (preferably non stick) pot, add 1/2 of the saffron with 1-2 tsp water, and give the pot a shake to distribute evenly. add a thin layer of cooked brown rice, top with a layer of (uncooked) fava beans and then dill, and sprinkle with some “advieh” and a small amount of sea salt-keep layering this way while carefully combining everything with a spatula or you hands until you’ve created a “dome” and finished all the ingredients.
{for the original version with white rice the uncooked rice is boiled in several cups of salted water for about 5-6 minutes, then the fava beans and dill are added to the pot-everything boils together (and gets evenly combined with a careful folding) for a minute before being drained. the rice mixture is then steamed much like in these recipe for “adas polow”  or barberry rice- zereshk polow}

2. sprinkle the “dome” with the remaining saffron, pour 1 tbs oil and 2-3 tbs of water over the top (using a slotted spoon or squirt bottle to evenly distribute).

3. cover the pot with a clean dish towel or paper towel and then the lid (tightly so that the steam does not get out) and cook on high for about 5-7 minutes (stay close by) before reducing the heat to med/low and allowing the rice to steam and cook for about 45 minutes.
4. serve the rice in a platter, then carefully remove the “tahdeeg” or crispy rice (my favorite part) from the bottom of the pot (serve on a separate dish).
“tah deeg” or crispy rice
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