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Polo (Plain Rice)

Polo (Plain Rice)

Cooking polo, Persian rice, is a lot like cooking pasta with an extra step at the end. Rice is cooked in salted boiling water for up to 8 minutes until it’s al dente meaning the outer part is soft but the inner part is still firm. At this point, the rice is strained and put back into the same pot and simmered until fully cooked. Before adding the rice back in, oil is added to the bottom of the pot to create tahdig, a golden and crispy crust loved by everyone. Tahdig is one of the most popular appetizers in Persian restaurants and it’s usually topped with up to three different Persian stews khorshts, YUM. Besides making plain rice tahdig which in itself is delicious, the bottom of the pot can be covered with a mixture of yogurt and saffron or slices of potatoes, thin bread or even onions.

Polo (Persian Rice)

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 1 hour
Ready in: 1 hour 5 min
Yields: 6 servings

INGREDIENTS

3 cups basmati rice rinsed and drained
1½ quarts (10 cups) water
2 tablespoons salt
6 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons butter melted
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
Pinch of ground saffron

INSTRUCTIONS


Pour the rice into a bowl and cover with cold water. Swish the rice around gently with your hand, drain and repeat until the water is clear. Strain the rice.

Rinsing washes off loose starch, making the rice less sticky.

Bring 10 cups water and 2 tablespoons salt to a boil in a 5-quart nonstick pot. Add rice, stir and return back to a boil. Lower heat to medium and cook for about 8 minutes or until rice rises to the top. Drain in a mesh colander.

To make tahdigh, the golden crunchy rice crust, dissolve a pinch of saffron in 1 tablespoon hot water in a medium bowl. Add 2 tablespoons yogurt, whisk to combine. Heat 4 tablespoons oil in the same pot used to cook the rice. Pour in the yogurt and saffron mixture followed by the rice. Cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes or until rice starts to steam.

Add the remaining oil and melted butter on top of the rice. Reduce heat to low. Cover pot with a clean dishtowel or 2 layers of paper towel and a lid. Fold edges of towel up over lid to keep away from the heat source. Cook over moderately low heat until tender and a crust forms on bottom, 50 minutes.

The dishtowel is used to keep the steam from escaping and to absorb the water that condenses on the inside of the lid, preventing it from falling back into the pot. This results in drier and fluffier rice.

When polo is cooked, remove the pot from the heat and let polo rest, undisturbed with the lid on, for at least 5 minutes.

When polo has a chance to rest, it will become more uniform in texture, with the bottom layers as fluffy as the top. Resting also helps to free the crust from the bottom of the pot. Another way of loosening tahdig is to dip the bottom of the pot in a large bowl of cold water for few minutes to release it.

Plate polo either by spooning it onto a serving platter or unmolding it.

If spooning polo, gently scoop it out onto a serving platter with a wide spatula, mounding it into the shape of a pyramid. Loosen tahdigh pieces from the bottom of the pot and lay them over polo or arrange them on a separate plate.

Unmolding works best when using a non-stick pot. To unmold polo, place a round serving platter upside down on top of the pot. Using pot holders firmly grab the serving platter and the pot flipping them over together, as you would invert a cake pan. This will keep the tahdigh intact.

A perfectly cooked polo has distinct and tender grains, not mushy, and is light and fluffy.


 

Polo (Persian Rice)
Serves 6
Fluffy and aromatic Persian rice.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
520 calories
72 g
16 g
23 g
8 g
5 g
362 g
2377 g
1 g
0 g
17 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
362g
Servings
6
Amount Per Serving
Calories 520
Calories from Fat 198
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 23g
35%
Saturated Fat 5g
26%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 13g
Cholesterol 16mg
5%
Sodium 2377mg
99%
Total Carbohydrates 72g
24%
Dietary Fiber 3g
13%
Sugars 1g
Protein 8g
Vitamin A
4%
Vitamin C
0%
Calcium
4%
Iron
8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups basmati rice rinsed and drained
  2. 1½ quarts (10 cups) water
  3. 2 tablespoons salt
  4. 6 tablespoons oil
  5. 3 tablespoons butter melted
  6. 2 tablespoons plain yogurt (optional)
  7. Pinch of ground saffron (optional)
Instructions
  1. Pour the rice into a bowl; cover with cold water. Swish the rice around gently with your hand; drain and repeat until the water is clear. Rinsing washes off loose starch, making the rice less sticky. Strain the rice.
  2. Bring 10 cups water and 2 tablespoons salt to a boil in a 5-quart nonstick pot. Add rice; stir and return back to a boil. Lower heat to medium; cook for about 8 minutes or until rice rises to the top. Drain in a mesh colander.
  3. To make tahdigh, a golden crispy crust, dissolve a pinch of saffron in 1 tablespoon hot water in a medium bowl. Add 2 tablespoons yogurt, whisk to combine. Heat 4 tablespoons oil in the same pot used to cook the rice. Pour in the yogurt and saffron mixture followed by the rice. Cover; cook over medium heat for 10 minutes or until the rice starts to steam.
  4. Add the remaining oil and melted butter on top of the rice. Reduce heat to low. Place a clean dishtowel or 2 layers of paper towel over the pot, folding the corners to keep away from the heat source. Cover the pot firmly with a lid; cook for 50 minutes. The dishtowel is used to keep the steam from escaping and to absorb the water that condenses on the inside of the lid, preventing it from falling back into the pot. This results in drier and fluffier rice.
  5. When rice is cooked, remove the pot from the heat and let the rice rest, undisturbed with the lid on, for at least 5 minutes. This results in a uniform texture, with the bottom layers as fluffy as the top, and also helps to free the crust from the bottom of the pan.
  6. Serve the rice either by placing it on a serving platter or unmolding it. To plate the rice, gently scoop it out onto a serving platter with a wide spatula, mounding it into the shape of a pyramid. Loosen the tahdigh (crispy crust) from the bottom of the pan; lay them over the rice or arrange them on a separate plate. If the tahdigh is hard to remove, lower the bottom of the pot into a sink of cold water for few minutes to help release the crust.
  7. To unmold the rice, place a round serving platter upside down on top of the pot. Using pot holders firmly grab the serving platter and the pot flipping them over together, as you would invert a cake pan. This will keep the tahdigh intact.
Notes
  1. A perfectly cooked rice has distinct and tender grains, not mushy, and is light and fluffy.
beta
calories
520
fat
23g
protein
8g
carbs
72g
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Mastering Persian Cooking https://masteringpersiancooking.com/