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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
  • 1/8 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.