Polow & Chelow (Persian cooked Rice)
Rice (Especially Polow & Chelow) is one of the main ingredients in Persian cuisine. Eventually, Iranians eat rice at least in one of their meals during a day. Northern Iranians mostly do rice cultivation for a living in the countrysides. Iranian rice includes a wide variety of Basmati rice. The most famous Basmati rice cultivated in Iran is Domsiah (دم سیاه). Domsiah is renowned for its extra aroma while cooking. It is mostly grown in Mazandaran and specifically in Gilan province. Another famous kind of Iranian rice is Dudi(دودی). It is also very aromatic and delicious while cooking and belongs to Gilan province.
For making an outstanding Persian style rice dish, we recommend you to use Iranian rice. However, if you can’t reach Iranian rice, you can use any basmati rice.
What is the difference between Polow, Chelow, and Kateh?
There are three main rice dishes in Persian cuisine, Chelow, Polow and Kateh. Chelow (chelo,چلو ) is the plain rice without anything added to it. Usually, they put a bar of butter next to Chelow while serving. Melting butter with the hot Chelow makes a delightful taste. Chelow is mostly served with Kebabs and Khoreshes(stews). Domsiah is the best kind of rice to cook Chelow with.
Polo (polow,پلو, Pilaf or Pilau) is another type of the Persian styles of cooking rice.polo is usually mixed with other ingredients and shape a one singular dish. For example, there is loobia polo (لوبیا پلو), which is a combination of polo-style rice and green beans and some other ingredients.
Polow has a broad subcategory according to the variety of ingredients added to rice.
Kateh is the easiest way of cooking rice in Persian cuisine. Mostly in the north of Iran, they cook Kateh instead of Chelow. Kateh is a combination of water, rice, oil and salt. It is not only easy to cook it but also specialists recommend using it since it saves all the vitamins in the rice while cooking.
As I mentioned before, Polo is the rice mixed with nuts, vegetables and meat. According to the ingredients we add to the rice, we can have many different types of Polo. Some famous Polos are Adaspolo, Loobiapolo, Baghalipolo, to name a few.
Cooking Polo is not limited to Iran in some other countries such as Turkey and Iraq, they cook Pilaw, too.
The main ingredients for Polow are rice, water and salt. Polo mostly needs a crust as a base in the pot. Which can be bread or potato. For making Polo, you need to soak the rice with salt for at least 5 hours. Then you should rinse it and boil it in hot water until it softens. Then you add the auxiliary ingredients that have cooked separately, and cook them on a dry pot on low heat.
Chelow has more fame compare to Polo and Kateh since Chelokebab that is a combination of Chelo and Kebab has worldwide popularity. Chelow is a dish of plain rice. For cooking Chelo, you need to soak the rice at least for five hours. The soaking time can differ according to the type of rice you are utilizing. Then you pout it into boiling water to soften the rice. After they are softened and half-cooked, you should rinse them and cook it in a dry pot with nothing added. Literally in Iran, they say brewing the rice(دم کردن). Not even oil. It usually has a crust of bread(the crust may contain oil). Chelow is the type that is mostly used in essential and formal ceremonies. It is served with kebabs and Persian stews. While serving, they put a bar of butter next to the dish. Somehow the oil is added while eating not while cooking.
Rice can provide the amount of carbohydrate that the body needs. Therefore any rice-based dish contains a high percentage of od carbohydrate 30.52 gr per 100 gr. This is a reason for Polo’s quite high calorie. Each 100 gr polo has 173 kcal. Other important nutrition of rice is protein, vitamins especially vitamin B9. It also provides the body’s some essential minerals such as calcium and iron.
Recipe for Polow & Chelow:
this recipe is adequate for four people. The preparation time is about 15 minutes + (2-10) hours (it’s time you have to soak the rice, and it can differ by type and amount of rice ). The cooking time is about 1 hour.
Polow & Chelow
- 4 cups Persian rice or You can usebasmati rice, too.
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 50 gr butter Or 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoon brewed saffron
- Clean the rice and wash it for 3 times.You have to wash it with water and rinse it 3 times.
- Pout the washed rice in a bowl and add the salt.
- Cover the combination with water and cover it with a lid.
- Wait until your rice is sufficiently soaked. Depending on which kind of rice you are using and the amount of rice, the soaking time can vary between2-10 hours.Usually an average time of 5 hours in enough for soaking.
- Fill half of a proper pot with water and put in on medium heat.
- As the water is boiling, add the rinsed rice
- After the rice is softer and taller, rinse it again.
- Pout the rice into the dry pot
only if you are cooking Polo
- Add the butter or oil
- Add any polo ingredients you wanted to add.
For Polow and Chlow
- Cook the rice for about 1 hour on low heat.
- Mix 4 tablespoons of cooked rice with saffron and use it as a topping
- Pour some oil and put a crust of Lavash bread in the pot before step 8.
- Using clarified butter instead of vegetable oil results in a tastier Polo.
- Taste your rice after rinsing and before cooking and rinse it again if it is salty.
- Cover the lid of the pot with a cloth or tissue. Just avoid water vapor return into the rice.