Shirin Polow – Iranian Rice Pilaf

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This rice pilaf is famed for its thick, crisp tah dig crust and crown of sweet garnishes.

Shirin Polow - Iranian Rice Pilaf

This rice pilaf is famed for its thick, crisp tah dig crust and crown of sweet garnishes.
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Author: The Cook


  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon crushed saffron
  • ¾ cup thinly sliced orange peel
  • 1 tablespoon rose water
  • 4 cups long-grain white rice
  • 2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • ¾ cup finely shredded carrots
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • ½ cup chopped pistachios


  • Bring sugar, ½ teaspoon saffron, and ½ cup water to a boil in 2 litre pan over high heat. Add ½ cup orange peel; cook until tender, 8–10 minutes. Let cool, and stir in rose water; set aside.
  • Make the rice: Rinse rice in a strainer under water until water runs clear. Place rice in a 6 litre pan. Add salt and 4 cups water, and cover; soak for 2 hours. Place pan over high heat; boil. Cook until rice begins to rise to the surface, about 12 minutes; drain. Return pan to medium-high heat; add remaining saffron, milk, and oil. Return rice to pan, forming it into a mound; using handle of a wooden spoon, poke 5 holes in the mound (to let steam escape); cover, and cook for 15 minutes.
  • Pour butter and 1 cup boiling water over rice; cover. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook until a golden crust forms on bottom, 30–35 minutes. Transfer rice to a platter, separating the grains as you go; break up crust from bottom of pot, and stir into rice. Garnish rice with candied and remaining raw orange peel, carrots, almonds, and pistachios.
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