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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towards eating the rainbow: carrot salad, black eyed peas in the pod, and green beans with vinaigrette

it’s been a good long summer of eating (not exactly so well), and after our last set of visitors left (still missing them) and the dust settled, we realized we had to get back to “greener” eating. you know, as in eating mostly whole non-processed foods-lots of vegetables, grains, fruits, and more vegetables! with this in mind, and all good intentions, i headed to the market where i found locally grown black eyed peas in the pod. love these. my mom used to cook them whole in their pods and serve them with lime as an appetizer the same way she served fresh fava (broad) beans. the (also local) organic green beans were looking so fresh i decided they would have to work with the whole peas in the pod (we started with these) for dinner. i also picked up a big bag of rather large organic carrots since lately i’ve been really craving carrot salad the way we used to make it in france. preparing dinner was as easy as this:
wash & boil 2-3 cups whole black eyed pea pods in lightly salted water until tender, then drain water, serve peas in a bowl with lime wedges.

{french sytle}carrot salad (4-6 servings)
1. wash and peel 6-8 medium/large carrots (3 cups shredded). grate carrots with a grater or in food processor.
2. add grated carrots to a bowl with a small bunch of chopped flat leaf parsley, sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste, juice of 1 lemon, 2-3 tbs extra virgin olive oil. simple. tasty. good for you.
 for green beans with vinaigrette (4-6 servings):

bring 4 cups of lightly salted water to a rolling boil, then add cleaned and trimmed green beans, cook until just tender but still green (about 5 minutes). drain and either dip in ice cold water or rinse with cold water (to stop the cooking and retain color). drizzle with this lemon vinaigrette and fresh chopped parsley. serve at room temperature. 
eat the rainbow: fruits & vegetables of all shades and colors 

*photo courtesy of occupy monsanto fb page*

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