Fresh fava bean and dill rice pilaf

Shiveed baghaleh polow

شوید باقالی پلو

This is one of many mixed rice dishes in Persian cuisine and I would say my second favorite! Favorite being the barberry rice (zereshk polow). This rice dish is typically served with stewed beef or lamb as well as roasted or stewed chicken with the usual Persian spice mixture called advieh. A side of yogurt or fire roasted pickled eggplants (liteh bademjan) would complete this dish!

There are a few variations to this dish and the fava bean can be replaced by lima beans and the herbs can be expanded to include parsley, cilantro, fenugreek leaves as well.

Polo ba Zaferoon

Persian rice pilaf with saffron tahdig
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time50 mins
soaking1 hr
Total Time1 hr 55 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Persian
Keyword: rice, saffron, tahdig
Servings: 4
Author: Omid Roustaei, The Caspian Chef


  • 2 cups white basmati rice, soaked and rinsed
  • 8 1/4 cups water, divided
  • 2 tablespoons salt. For parboiling the rice and will be rinsed out.
  • 4 tablespoons butter or ghee divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground saffron dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water


  • Wash the rice thoroughly and set aside to soak for at least one hour.
  • In a large covered pot, bring 8 cups water and salt to a boil. Add the rinsed rice and boil on high heat uncovered for about 7-8 minutes, or until the rice has slightly softened.
  • Drain the rice in a colander and set aside while you prepare the pan.
  • Melt 2 tablespoons ghee in a non-stick pot over low heat. In a small bowl, mix 1 cup of the lightly cooked rice with 1 tablespoon of saffron-water mixture, gently mix and spread evenly in the bottom of the pot. This will be the crispy rice referred to as Tah-dig.
  • Pour the remainder of the rinsed rice to the pot and lightly fluff with a fork. Cut up the remaining 2 tablespoons ghee into pieces and evenly spread over the top of the rice.
  • Pour the additional 1/4 cup water evenly over the top of the rice. Wrap the lid with a clean towel and place on top of the pot. This will allow the rice to steam.
  • Allow the rice to steam over a medium-low to medium heat for 45 minutes.
  • Pour the remaining 1 tablespoon saffron water over the top of the rice. Turn off the heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.


When serving this dish to guests, I typically use a non-stick pot so that I can flip the rice over and serve it upside down showcasing the crunchy saffron tahdig.
When steaming the rice, do not lift the lid and never mix the rice.

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