RICE with MIXED HERBS
Sabzi Polow سبزی پلو
– 500 g (1 lb) Basmati long grain rice
– 500 g (1 lb) meat or chicken
– 750 g (1.5 lb) fresh herbs, equal portions
of parsley, chive, dill, coriander and
4 sprigs fenugreek
– 1 medium onion
– 1/3 cup oil
– 1/4 tsp ground saffron
– salt and pepper
1.After washing the rice thoroughly, soak the rice in salted lukewarm water to cover by 2 inches for 3 to 4 hours.
2. Trim the meat of all fat, cut into small pieces (2-inch cubes), wash and drain.
3. Slice the onions and fry in a little oil until it turns golden brown. Add the meat, salt, and pepper and cook over low heat until the meat is well done, 45 minutes to an hour.
4. Clean the herbs cutting out coarse stems, wash, dry and chop finely.
5. In a large saucepan, bring 8 to 12 cups of water to a rapid boil.
6. Pour off excess water from rice and pour into boiling water. Bring back to boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Test to see if the rice is ready. The grains should be firm in the center and rather soft on the outside. Strain and rinse with lukewarm water. Toss gently in the strainer.
7. Bring 1/4 cup water and 2 to 3 tbs oil to the rapid boil. Add layers of rice and the mixed herbs interchangeably building it up to a dome shape. The top layer should be rice. Make sure the herbs are dry before mixing them with the rice.
8. Poke 5 or 6 holes through the rice to the bottom with the handle of a spoon. Close the lid. Keep on medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes until rice is steaming. Heat up 1/4 cup of water and 2 tbs oil and pour over the rice. Wrap the saucepan lid with a clean tablecloth and cover the pan firmly. Reduce heat to low and cook for 45 minutes to an hour.
9. After removing from heat, place the saucepan in the sink and run cold water under it to cool down.
10. Add 1/4 tsp saffron to 1 tbs hot water. Lightly mix 2 to 3 tbs of rice with the liquid saffron in a small bowl. Set it aside for garnish.
11. To dish up, gently toss the rice and sprinkle lightly in a dish in a symmetrical mound. Garnish with the saffron rice. You can either serve the meat (or chicken) in a separate dish or mix it with the rice in the same dish.
12. Remove the crusty bottom and serve on a separate plate.