Pilaf or pilau is a rice dish, cooked with other ingredients such as beans, vegetable and meat. Rice is one of the main ingredients in Iranian dishes and you’ll find it in most Iranian foods. We even eat our stews with rice on the side! There are lots of pilaf dishes in Iranians diets; and in this article we will introduce them to you.
Rice is one of the most consumed foods in the world and various foods are prepared with rice; and if you follow the tips of preparing rice food, you will undoubtedly prepare your most delicious foods with this ingredient. You can find rice in more than 50% of Iranian foods, It’s either served on the side of another food such as kebabs or stews or it’s an exciting pilaf dish. In the past articles on Iranian foods we introduced our most popular Kebabs, stews, deserts and even Iranian pottage, aush; now it’s time for you to read about pilaf dishes to complete the adventure!
One of my favorite foods among Iranian pilaf dishes is Adas polo. It’s a combination of Lentil, rice, minced meat, raisins and date. The most important ingredients of this food are rice, minced meat and lentil; and adding dates and raisins are more of an optional choice. To cook this pilaf dish, we first cook Lentil and the add rice to it. Then we cook the minced meat separately and add it to our rice mixture. If anyone wants to add date and raisins, they cook it separately and then add it to their rice.
Iranians mostly eat some salad, yoghurt or torshi with their food. And if you wanted to try this meal, our favorite thing is yoghurt and we recommend it to you too.
At first sight it maybe a little weird for you to hear you have to cook fruit with rice! Now, what fruit should we cook?! Sour cherries (Albaloo in Persian)! If you are a fan of sour-sweet taste, we recommend you to try this dish. To cook Albaloo Polo, we first sperate the cherries from their pit and then cook them with a little sugar and water. Then we add the rice and our spices to it. Albaloo polo is served with chicken on the side, and some Iranians also serve this pilaf dish with lamb chops too. Serving most Iranian pilaf dishes with meat or chicken is more of an optional thing; and you can even order them with out any meat if you are vegan or vegetarian.
Baqali polo is a combination of special herbs, board beans (Baqali in Persian) and rice with chicken or meat on the side. To cook this food you first have to cook your board beans and then add your rice and herbs. The herbs of this food are: Leeks, parsley, dill and coriander, fenugreek and a clove of fresh garlic. This mixture is the same in every Iranian pilaf dish that has herbs. You can serve chicken, or lamb shank on the side with this food.
This one is a sweet dish! The main ingredients of this food are rice, sugar, chicken and carrots (havij in Persian). The use of cooked carrot and sugar in this pilaf dish makes it taste sweet; so if you’re not a fan of sweetness, we don’t recommend it to you. Like Albaloo polo, this food is served with chicken on the side but some Iranians use lamb chops instead. And if you are vegan or vegetarian, you can order it without any kind of meat.
One of the most delicious Iranian pilaf dishes is Loubia polo. Ingredients of this food are: Rice, green beans, lamb chops and spices. To cook Loubia Polo you first have to cook your rice and meat separately and then, fry your beans for 1-2 minutes and then mix all the ingredients together and let them cook together. If you ever wanted to try this Iranian pilaf dish we suggest you to have it with yoghurt and dough!
Morasa’ polo or Persian jeweled rice is considered as one of the luxurious Iranian foods cooked with rice due to the use of saffron and pricy nuts such as pistachio and almond in it. Most of the ingredients of this food are nuts such as pistachio slices, raisins, almond slices, walnuts and orange peels. In addition to these ingredients you’ll need barberry, rice, onion, chicken and maybe some sugar alongside the spices.
First we cook the nuts and barberry together and then add it to our rice. This food is served with chicken on the side and some people might shave their chicken in the rice. The use of sugar is optional and depends on the chef’s taste. If you use sugar it will increase the savory taste of barberry and gives you a more sour-sweet taste; and without sugar your food will taste more savory.
Reshteh polo is not one of those very famous, very popular Iranian pilaf dishes. But it is special because most Iranians traditionally have it on Chaharshanbe Suri night. The ingredients of this food are: Rice, special rice noodles, raisins and lamb chops. The reason that Iranians have this food on a ceremony before Nowruz is that they believe if they have this food, everything will be in their control in the new year!
So if you traveled to Iran around Nowruz and Chaharshanbe Suri, we suggest you to try this meal to complete you new cultural experience.
Sabzi polo, is a special pilaf dish among Iranians, because it’s a tradition for us to have it on Nowruz. Ingredients of this food are the usual herbs that we use in our pilaf dishes, rice and fish (mostly trout fish). Because of the use of fish in the ingredients of this food, Iranians considered it a luxurious meal that not everyone are able to cook it several times during a year; and this is the reason that everyone traditionally have it on Nowruz (Iranian new year).
You might be familiar with this dish. Spanish rice or what we call in Iran Istanbul rice, is a combination of potatoes, rice, onion and tomatoes with spices such as turmeric and tomato paste. Iranians usually serve this pilaf dish with yoghurt or Shirazian salad on the side; and we recommend you if you haven’t had this salad before, try it on the side with this dish.
Undoubtedly, Tah chin is one of the tastiest dishes that you can try in your life! The dish includes a mixture of rice, yoghurt, eggs, shaved chicken and spices with barberry and pistachio slices on the side. The most important spices that also makes this dish unique are saffron and turmeric alongside usual spices. The use of barberry gives this dish a slight savory taste, which can be pleasant and new for you.
As the name presents, this dish is a combination of rice and barberry (zereshk in Persian) served with chicken. To cook this pilaf dish, Iranians first cook their rice and then their chicken and barberry separately. Then they’ll put rice and barberry together and fry the chicken. For more taste they’ll add some tomato paste and green pepper to the chicken broth, to put on the rice.
Zereshk polo is one of the most famous and popular Iranian pilaf dishes and you can find it in every restaurant’s menu; so we absolutely recommend you to try it!
What is your opinion about Iranian pilaf dishes? Which one was your favorite? Let us know!