Mains, Persian New Year, Recipes

Herb rice with Persian-spiced fish

This is a special recipe in celebration of Norooz (or Nowruz), the Persian New Year!

Just like the Turkey on Thanksgiving or the ham on Christmas Day (seafood platter also, if you’re in Australia!), Sabzi Polow with fish is the hero dish for Norooz lunch with family and friends.

Try Maman’s simple recipe this week.



Herb rice with Persian-spiced fish (Sabzi polow ba mahi)

Serves 4-6

3 cups Basmati rice
1 bunch parsley
1 bunch coriander
1 bunch  dill
1 bunch chives or 4 shallots (just the green section)
4 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp grind saffron (dilute with 2tbs hot water)
1 tbsp butter
4-6 fillets of fish of your choice (“white fish” is the most traditional option, but we also used salmon, barramundi and prawns)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garlic powder
Salt & pepper


Herb Rice
1. Wash the rice and soak in water with 1tbsp salt for 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, chop all the herbs.
3. Pour 8 cups of water and 1tbs salt in a large non-stick pot, and bring to the boil.
4. Drain the rice and add it to the boiling water, and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain in a colander.
5. Heat 1tbs oil in the same pot and scoop in 2 large wooden spoonfuls of rice to the pot, spreading evenly across the bottom. This is how you will make the rice tahdig — a buttery, crunchy golden crust — as the rest of the rice steams above.
6. Mix the herbs in with the rice in the colander, add 1/2 tsp pepper.
7. Scoop all the rice back into the pot, making sure you mound the top of the rice into a cone or pyramid shape. Pour melted butter all over the rice, then wrap the pot lid in a tea towel and cover the rice, leaving to cook for 5 minutes on medium heat. Then reduce the heat to very low, and cook for an additional 35 minutes.

Persian-spiced fish
8. Pour the lemon juice over the fish and set aside.
9. In a shallow-dish or large plate, mix together the flour, turmeric, garlic powder and 1/2tsp
of salt and pepper.
10. Heat 2tbs oil in a frypan. Coat the fish in the flour mixture, shaking off the excess
flour. Then fry the fish, a few fillets at a time, adding more oil if needed.

To serve:
11. Once ready, scoop the rice onto a serving platter. Set aside 1 scoop of rice and add this to a bowl with the diluted saffron water, and mix together. Pour this saffron rice mixture over the rice platter.
12. Assemble the cooked fish on another large serving platter.
13. And don’t forget to unmound the tahdig whole, or scrape the tahdig shards, from the bottom of the rice pot!





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