Havij Polo -Saffron rice and carrots

هویج پلو

Havij polo is not just another Persian rice dish. It’s rather an experience and a destination, much like getting a stamp on your passport at the end of an exotic journey! This dish is truly a journey of colors and flavors!

Though there’s quite a variety of rice pilaf dishes in Persian cuisine, there are probably 10 that most Iranians would be able to list without even thinking. Havij Polo is right up there in my top 5 list of Persian rice dishes.

What makes this dish so distinctive is the simplicity and the delicate combination of ingredients that lend themselves to creating a highly flavorful, mildly sweet, and aromatic dish. Here I have combined the lightly sauteed carrots with fragrant candied orange and tossed them with bloomed saffron. The result is, well, self-evident; a colorful and vibrant dish that is bound to be a visual and gastronomic hit on your spread!

Each region, of course, will make its own variation on this dish by introducing more aromatics such as cinnamon, cumin, rose petals, or rose water. It is also customary to add a small number of raisins or dates to this dish.

This is a good example of a Persian dish that you can easily adjust to suit your palate and taste preferences. For example, the chicken can be replaced by either stewed lamb or beef. Or, if you prefer to reduce the amount of animal food in your diet, you can consider having this dish with sunny-side-up fried eggs.

Though highly not traditional, one of my favorite ways of eating this dish is with roasted tofu! Toss the tofu with a medley of warming spices such as cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, and red chili powder, and some salt and oil and roast in the oven for a perfectly seasoned plant-based protein!

Subscribe

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Havij Polo

Omid Roustaei, The Caspian Chef
Saffron rice and carrots
5 from 13 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 50 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Persian
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

Saffron

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground saffron dissolved in 8 tablespoons hot water, divided

Candied orange

  • 1 Navel orange peeled, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Chicken

  • 3 tablespoon ghee, butter, or oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric, ground
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, ground
  • 4 pieces chicken thighs and breasts, with bone-in and skin-on preferred
  • 1 cup water, more as needed
  • 3 tablespoons saffron water

Carrots

  • 4 medium carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 2 tablespoons ghee, butter or oil
  • 3 tablespoons saffron water

Rice

  • 2 cups white basmati rice, soaked for 1 hour and rinsed
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons salt, for parboiling rice and will be rinsed out
  • 2 tablespoons ghee, butter or oil
  • 2 tablespoons saffron water

Garnish

  • 1/4 cup slivered or chopped pistachios

Instructions
 

Saffron

  • Using a smooth mortar and pestle, grind the saffron threats into a ground and add hot water, stir and set aside.

Orange

  • Score the navel orange into quarters with a paring knife, approximately 1/8 inch deep. Peel the orange and remove as much as of the pith as possible. Thinly slice the orange peel into matchsticks.
  • Place the orange peel in a small saucepan with water and sugar, stir and bring to a gentle boil. Continue to simmer uncovered over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes or until the water and sugar have cooked into a small amount of syrup. Set aside.

Chicken

  • In a large heavy pot, sauté the onions with 2 tablespoons ghee for about 10 minutes over medium heat.
  • Add turmeric, salt and pepper and saute for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  • In the same pan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and saute the chicken pieces on medium-high heat for 5 minutes on each side. Return the onions to the pan, add 1 cup of water and mix well.
  • Cover and cook the chicken over low heat for 75-90 minutes until the chicken is completely tender. Be sure to turn the chicken over halfway and check for the liquid level. Add a small amount of water if necessary during the cooking, however keep in mind that the finished dish should not be watery.
  • Once the chicken is cooked, add the remaining 3 tablespoons of saffron water and stir. Cook for 5 minutes and remove from heat.

Carrots

  • In a medium sized frying pan, sauté the carrots over medium heat with ghee for about 5 minutes, add the orange peel and syrup and 3 tablespoons of saffron water and cook for an additional minute. Remove from heat and set aside.

Rice

  • Select a large heavy bottomed pot and bring 8 cups of water and salt to a boil, covered. Once boiling, add the rinsed rice and bring back to a boil on high heat uncovered for about 6-8 minutes, or until the rice has slightly softened.
  • Drain the rice in a colander, rinse with warm water and set aside while you prepare the pan for the next stage of cooking.
  • Melt 2 tablespoons of ghee over low heat in the same heavy bottom pot. In a small bowl, gently mix 1 cup of the lightly cooked rice with 2 tablespoons of saffron-water and spread evenly in the bottom of the pot. This will be the crispy rice referred to as Tahdig.
  • Begin by layering a 1/3 of the partially cooked rice and a 1/3 of the carrot mixture until all of the rice and carrots are layered in the pot. Wrap the lid with a clean towel and place on top of the pot.
  • Allow the rice to steam over a medium-low to medium heat for 45-50 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  • Place the rice and carrot pilaf on a serving platter with the braised chicken arranged around the platter, garnish with pistachios on top and serve.
Keyword carrots, chicken, rice, saffron
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Follow me on social media

8 thoughts on “Havij Polo -Saffron rice and carrots

  1. Your website and dishes look amazing Omid! Thank you for being so generous with your information and beautiful photos. I wish you the best of luck and good fortune !

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *