Baghali Polow – Rice, Broad Beans and Dill

Once served by an Iranian friend – and remembered for ever.

There are plenty of recipes on t’Internet like this one, from Turmeric and Saffron. But I have not found one that replicates our friend’s magic.

I think I have caught her tweaks below; they lift the dish from fairly ordinary “rice and peas”, to something delicately beautiful. With profound apologies to any Irani cook appalled at a Scotsman “teaching their granny to suck eggs.”

Ingredients

  • One quantity Chelo Rice (made with 2 cups rice)
  • 350g/12oz frozen broad beans (they are attractively small); or the equivalent in small, fresh beans.
  • Large bunch of fresh dill

Method

  • Each and every bean needs to be peeled. Pop the broad beans into boiling water for 1-2 minutes (for frozen), 2-3 minutes (if fresh) – just enough to let you squeeze the beans out of their skin quickly (?) and painlessly.
  • Prepare the rice. While the rice is finally resting, cook the beans in just a little water, and chop the dill leaves very finely. Simply mix the beans and dill through the rice.
  • For a special occasion, if you can find zereshk (dried barberries), soak a handful to plump them up, and sprinkle on just before serving. Or use a few pomegranate seeds.

Freshly and delicately green, delicious on the eye and the tongue. Serve with a rich, fragrant mutton or lamb stew (made with meat on the bone). Or perhaps a herby grilled/baked fish?

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