Herb Rice ( Sabzi polo )

The fist day of spring all around a world is just a day in the middle of December, but for me is the smell of flower, rain, start of our best holiday, celebrating our new year, nowrooz, new clothes, family visiting and parties, best pastries, mixed nuts, best food, fresh herbs. Fresh herbs and our traditional meal, sabzi polo va mahi ( Herb rice with fish ). A sign of nature and celebration of the earth new start, a green rice, the symbol of the color of nature on spring. The first day of spring for me is the joy of dressing up holiday feast with family, exactly like Christmas Eve. The smell of herb rice with fresh fried fish, fresh Green garlic, pickle,…and so on.

Now I am here to share this joy with you, anytime you cook it, close your eyes and smell it. You might not feel holiday but you feel nature, spring and health.

The method is the same as other rice, but it’s mixed rice, so I give you the formula for mixed rice then you can cook any mixed rice you like. What you need is fresh chopped herbs and white rice.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Total time: 50 hours

Servings: 4 people

Course: Entree, rice, vegetarian

Servings: 4


2 cups rice

2 cups freshly chopped herbs containing, 1 bunch of parsley, 2 bunches of cilantro, 1 bunch of dill, 3stems of green onions

1 clove garlic

8 cups boiled water

3 tbsp salt

1/4 tsp ground saffron, steeped in 4 tbsp cold water

1/4 cup canola oil

How to Make

Stage One

  1. Wash the rice in a colander until the water get almost clear. You can soak it in the salted water for 2-3 hours or cook right after washing. If it’s soaked needs less time boiling, and if it’s not need more.
  2. Wash the herbs and finely chop them.
  3. In a large pot bring the water to boil and add one spoon oils, salt and rice. Continue cooking over medium to high heat, stirring occasionally.
  4. In 5-10 minutes ( read over step one ), with a slotted spoon break one grain in half to check if it’s “al dente ( to the tooth )” same as pasta. Soft on outside and still to the tooth inside. One sign that works most of the time is when the grains start coming up to the water surface means it’s almost ready. This is the most important stage of cooking, if you mess up here, unfortunately the result won’t be good. If you do it the first time means you’r so good, but this usually happens by practicing and also depends on the quality of the rice (see above).
  5. Turn off the heat and pour rice in a colander or stainer ( must be very tiny hole ). Rinse it with lukewarm water with spray option, and set it aside.

Stage two:

  1. Place a nonstick pan on cooktop over medium heat. If you are using the same pot, wash it and dry it and then put on heat.  Add 4 tbsp canola oil, 2 tbsp butter, 4 tbsp water and 1tsp of steeped saffron. Swirl the oil all around the bottom of the pot. Once the oil starts sizzling put half of that in a cup aside for later.
  2. Here is the tahdig ( crispy bottom ) stage. You can put anything you like for tahdig, like sliced potatoes, rice, and so on, but for this mix the best choice is lettuce. The result is a green rice with green crispy tahdig. Set a layer of lettuce leaves on the bottom of the pot.
  3. With slotted spatula pour a layer of drained rice and a layer of herbs. Repeat this until you have a put filled with layers of rice and herbs. Shape it like pyramid and poke a few holes with the handle of your spatula all around but don’t reach the tahdig.
  4. Cover the lid of the pot with a cotton napkin or several layers of bounty and put the lid on.
  5. After 15 minutes ( when the steams come up ) spread the oil that you sat aside all over the rice, turn the heat to medium-low heat, cover the pot and cook for 20 more minutes.


For rice always get a good size pot as you need to make pyramid shape and also you getter best result, fluffy and individual grains.

At the time of serving, if your pot is not nonstick, you need to fill the sink with cold water and put the bottom of the pot in that for 5 minutes that you can flip the rice in a dish or even remove the tahdig from the pot after serving the rice in the dish.

How to flip the rice: Put a good size serving dish on the top of the  pot and in one fast motion, quickly flip the pot over.

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