Sabzi Polo(Sabzi Polow, سبزی پلو) is one of the fascinating members of mixed Polo cuisine. Iranians usually serve it with fish(Sabzi Polo Mahi, سبزی پلو با ماهی). So you often hear Mahi beside Sabzi polo(Sabzi polo ba Mahi). If we translate it into English, we call it herbed rice with fish. To explain more, Sabzi is a Persian word for herbs, Polo is a Persian style of steamed rice, and Mahi refers to fish. As you see in the part of this meal’s name, rice, herbs or vegetable, and fish are the main ingredients of this dish. It also should be mentioned that mixed Polo with herbs is called pilaff or pilau(In British).
This food, filled with a number of fresh herbs, symbolizes spring and new birth. Therefore, Iranian people have Sabzi Polo ba Mahi as Norouz (Nowruz or Norooz) traditional favorite dish. One day before beginning the new year, they come to their parents or grandparents’ homes to prepare their herb and other ingredients of it. So the smells of the herbs wafted through the air and promising the coming of spring. They eat this meal for lunch on Norouz’s first day with their family and relatives while they get together to celebrate a happy new year. This meal is served mostly in the north of Iran in the restaurants since there is a fish cradle.
Important Nutrition facts:
Sabzi Polo ba Mahi has a quite high calorie and nutritional value since it contains a significant amount of rice, vegetable, and fish. So it means that it is the primary source of carbohydrates, fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Fish contains notable amounts of omeg3, which is rare to find in other dishes.
But it can be harmful to some people who have particular diseases like diabetics, or who have high cholesterol in their blood.
Serving style of Sabzi Polo:
Almost in the table of every Iranian family, you can see soup (barley soup, saffron soup, cream soup) as an appetizer. Shirazi salad, Sabzi Khordan (سبزی خوردن), single slices of salty cucumber, tomato and onions, slices of Seville orange(نارنج), or lemon are good choices as a side dish.
A good drink next to this Persian pilaff is lemon beer or coca-cola. It is not advised doogh (Persian yogurt drink) beside Sabzi Polo ba Mahi because of both fish and doogh cold temperament.
What are the ingredients of Sabzi Polo?
As the name of Sabzi Polow ba Mahi tells us, the main ingredients are herbs, rice, and fish. The herbs used in Sabzi Polo vary, but the most common and traditional type of them include Tareh (leeks, also called garlic chives), cilantro, parsley, and dill. We can use both kinds of fresh and dried herbs in cooking this food. But the flavor of fresh herbs mixed with fluffy rice is more delicious certainly.
Basmati rice, which is one of the popular types of rice, is used for cooking this meal mostly since Persian rice is hard to find out of Iran. Also, this food typically is served with Mahi Sefid (white fish, the Caspian kutum). But other kinds of fishes Like Kapoor, Kafala, Aazaad, Halva, .rashgoo, and many more are used for cooking it, too.
Other ingredients are garlic, brewed saffron, turmeric, and another flavor you may like, for example, black pepper, salt, butter, vegetable oil, lemon juice. According to your taste, you can have potato or flatbread, etc. for your crus (Tahdigh) under the rice.
Cooking process of Sabzi Polo:
The recipe of Sabzi Polo ba Mahi consists of two-part. The first part involves cooking herbed rice and the second part preparing roasted garnished fish. Cooking rice involves soaking rice, boiling it, and finely steaming it with herbs. We can make its fish in two different techniques. You can grill it or cook it in an oven over the stovetop and fry it in a frying pan.
This recipe is adequate for four people. The preparation time is about 40 minutes, and the cooking time is about 1 hour.
- 3 cup Persian or Basmati rice
- 2 lb white fish, cleaned and sliced
- 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
- 1 bunch dill, finely chopped
- 1 bunch leek ,finely chopped
- 1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- A few slices of flatbread
- 1 teaspoon ground saffron powder
- 2 teaspoon salt and turmeric
- 2 tablespoon oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ cup flour
- Boil the water in the pot.
- Rinse salty water and add rice into the pot and boil it until it gets soft around the edge while still firm in the center.
- Check the rice grains. If it is al dental, drain the rice into a calendar.
- Mix all the chopped herbs and garlic in the large bowl and add some salt and turmeric and butter.
- Melt the butter in the same pot on the low heat.
- Lay down the flatbread on the bottom of the pot into the melted butter.
- Mix boiled rice and herbs mixed in a pyramid shape by use of a spatula.
- Sprinkle the top with brewed saffron.
- Cover the lid with Damkoni and stream the rice for 45 min to 1 hour.
- While the rice is cooking, sprinkle cleaned fish with salt and coat with flour.
- Heat the oil in the frying pan and place the breaded fish into the hot oil. Fry It until golden each side and cooked thoroughly.
- After cooking rice and fish, you can serve it in a platter dressed in saffron and fried onion and other side dishes like a slice of fried potato or chips, lemon, and salty cucumber which make your meal more delicious.
- Clean-up, pre-wash, dry, and finely chop all the herbs.
- Clean-up, wash, soak the rice in the hot salty water (time of it depends on your rice type, so you should know your rice if you want to have its appearance as delicious as its taste).
- Put the slice of fish into the mixture of salt, turmeric, and lemon juice to make it tastier and make its meat crispy.