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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Javaher Polow with Tah-dig | Persian Jewelled Rice with Scorched Rice


Javaher Polow with Tah-dig
Javaher Polow with Tah-dig



This time I have a special friend Famidha as my Guest Chef for this month with an exotic Persian Dish called Javaher Polow with Tah-dig.  Famidha is the person behind the blog  My Life in Yanbu, you can read more about herself and her blog below. I would also like to mention that this the second time I am having her in my food blogging space and it is my pleasure to have her around many many more times to come.

It so happened that a couple of months ago, when the Muslim Food Bloggers Challenge was due, which is scheduled for 10th of every month, the theme was to prepare a 'bookmarked recipe from a favorite blogger'. It was a lovely coincidence that Famidha and I ended up preparing dishes from each other's blogs. I always wanted to try her Mango Basbousa and it was a pleasant surprise to see her preparing one of my recipes called Cucumber Dosa.  

You can read more about Famidha here and let us hear from the blogger herself. 


Javaher Polow with Tah-dig
Javaher Polow with Tah-dig


Wow, I feel like I just got access to a VIP lounge! 😊

I get jitters when I am asked to do a guest post and I overthink, overdo, overeat, and sometimes overact as though I have a million dollar at stake. It is just a friendly guest post so chill. But the whole world is going to read and I am accountable for the host’s reputation and credibility etc. So please be kind to me!

And how can I deny a free ticket to the best blog in town? πŸ˜‰

So those who don’t know me, here is the mandate short intro!
I am Famidha, the blogger behind My Life in Yanbu, which is a beautiful, quiet, serene, slowly getting populated, city by the Red Sea located in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. From halal recipes to travelogues there is nothing much on my blog. Married and jobless so started blogging to maintain a rust-free brain. A budding minimalist and mother of Ragee, a cat who got her tickets to heaven too soon.

The recipes on my blog are not focused on any one cuisine but I am being told my blog has more of Middle Eastern food, which I agree, but it is totally unintentional 😊 So bear with me, this time too I have a recipe from a middle eastern country – Iran! Persian Jewelled Rice or Javaher Polow!

Javaher Polow with Tah-dig
Javaher Polow with Tah-dig

Javaher Polow is the most popular Persian rice and is also known as Bride's rice! You can't deny it, look at those vibrant colors! I learnt that this Persian Jewelled Rice is traditionally served at weddings and family gatherings and so this is one of the celebration food of Iran! The Scorched rice part or Tah-dig is the signature character of Persian rice dishes that are commonly called the golden crust. This rice can be made without the tah-dig too. But I wanted to include it as I love challenges.

My first encounter was the image of the vibrant plate of Jewelled rice on The Kitchn website that was adapted from the award-winning cookbook author, Najmieh Batmanglij. The Carrots, Orange rinds, Barberries, Pistachios, Almonds, Raisins and Saffron studded rice were mind-blowingly refreshing to look at. I have read the recipe so many times in the past year but never got to make it because I was waiting to get my hands on some barberries. But no luck, so settled with the alternative – dried cranberries.

The rice is half cooked and drained and then goes back into the pot like we do for Hyderabadi biryani. The only difference is, here we pile the rice like a pyramid inside the pot. They claim this method helps the grains keep separate and gets cooked evenly. I followed the same method but I am sure it would work on our own usual method too.

The best thing about this rice is you actually don’t need any accompaniments but it is usually served along with some kabobs and yogurt sauce. The first time I paired with some kababs but the second time I didn’t have any meat left so there are no kabobs in these pics.

The next best is the candied orange rinds! Each time I peel oranges, I used to save the rind hoping to make this polow. Mind you, this could make or break the overall taste. I had enough rice after the second attempt so shared some with my neighbor who was kind to tell me that it was very tasty and interesting and also that she picked out all the orange rinds. Yikes! my bad, I forgot to taste the orange rinds after the first boil. Yes, you will have to boil and drain the orange rinds multiple times until the bitterness is reduced as per your taste.

Don’t think I have to say anything about the dried fruits and nuts! The more the better!

Saffron – a must! I have seen some recipes that use turmeric powder – use turmeric only if you are allergic to saffron.

Javaher Polow with Tah-dig
Javaher Polow with Tah-dig

Preparing this dish is a breeze once you have all the ingredients in place. The whole process involves in getting the ingredients ready and prepping the rice pot which I believe is not complicated as it may seem to be. I made this Persian Jewelled rice twice – Friday and Sunday! Because I wanted to get the perfect tah-dig.

Talking about tah-dig, which translates to “bottom pot” is the golden crust of rice in the bottom of the pot. I know that lots of butter or ghee and saffron water goes into it and it is deliciously edible, but somebody new to this concept may wonder that we served burnt rice! I have one living with me.

I explained to him before I even attempted but I wasn’t happy with it myself. It was too thin and not firm and as crispy as it should be. He didn’t go for a second help of that crispy rice. On the contrary, I read in so many blogs that family gatherings in Iran almost always fight to get the last tah-dig piece. 😊

Therefore, I had to make it again and this time I nailed it.

You won’t believe, I have more pictures of the tah-dig than the rice on my phone! LOL!


I have tried to include as much as details required, so please read carefully and make a to-do list when you plan to make this for your next celebration. It may look overwhelming, but I have included detailed steps keeping the beginners in mind.

Javaher Polow with Tah-dig | Persian Jewelled Rice with Scorched Rice


A Persian rice dish studded with slivered nuts and dry fruits fit for a grand celebration or a party.

Preparation time: 30 - 45 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour 45 minutes
1 cup = 250 ml capacity
Serves 4 (big servings)

Ingredients:

For Saffron Water:
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon orange blossom water or rose water
1/2 cup warm water

For Jewels:
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup slivered pistachios
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup golden raisin
1/3 cup slivered orange rind (1 or 2 oranges)
1 large carrot cut into batons
1 or 2 tablespoon pomegranate arils

For Candied Orange Rinds & Carrots:
1 to 2 cups water - to boil the rinds to remove the bitterness
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoon prepared saffron water

For Caramelized Onion:
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1" cinnamon stick
3 cardamom pods
2 teaspoon ghee or butter
1/4 teaspoon allspice powder(optional)
1/4 teaspoon cumin powder (optional)

For Polow or Rice:
1 and 1/2 cup basmati rice, washed and soaked for 30 minutes
1 tablespoon salt
5 to 6 cups water
Remaining prepared saffron water
Reserved syrup of candied rinds and carrots (approx. 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup water
3 to 5 tablespoon ghee or butter

Instructions:

Notes

 1. If you do not have silvered nuts, just soak the almonds and pistachios in warm water overnight or for an hour. Then peel off the skin and chop the nuts lengthwise. Yes, it is time-consuming but worth the effort or you can buy readymade silvered nuts. 

2. You can add other dry fruits too. Traditionally, barberries are used instead of cranberries. 

3. Javaher Polow can be prepared without tah-dig (bottom -pot) or the crispy rice crust. Add the ghee on top of the rice instead of the bottom of the pan. 

4. You can skip the caramelized onions and just add the spices to the carrots and orange mix. 

5. If you have dried rose petals, then nothing should stop you from garnishing with it 

Mise en place 

First, make sure you have all the ingredients in place in their required condition. The only three things you will need to use the knife are carrots, orange rind and onion and of course the nuts if you don't have them silvered. So, read the Ingredients list carefully and keep all the items ready. 

Prepare the saffron water 

1. Crush the saffron threads with a dash of sugar to almost powder form. The granulated sugar helps in crushing the saffron threads. 

2. Add the crushed saffron, orange blossom water and warm water in a small bowl and let it rest. 

Prepare the candied orange rinds and carrots

1. Boil enough water and drop the rinds into it. Let it boil for 5 minutes. 

2. Drain the water off and rinse the rinds with cold water. This is to cut the bitterness. Taste and repeat if necessary. 

3. Add the rinds back to the saucepan along with the carrots, some sugar, saffron water and plain water. Let it boil and simmer for 5 to 8 minutes or until the water is reduced to half. 

4. Remove the rinds and carrots and keep aside. 

5. Reserve the syrup. 

Prepare the caramelized onions 

1. Heat ghee in a pan and add the whole spices and chopped onions. 

2. Saute the onions until browned but not burnt. 

3. If you have Advieh, add 1/2 teaspoon here or like me, you can also add 1/4 teaspoon of cumin and allspice powder instead. Advieh is Iran spice mix. 

4. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl. 

Parboil the rice 

1. Take a large non-stick pot with a tight-fitting lid and bring 5 to 6 cups of water to a rapid boil over a medium-high heat. 

2. Add the drained soaked rice into the boiling water and bring back to a boil over a medium-high heat for about 5 to 7 minutes or until the grains al-dente (almost cooked but fully done) 

3. Drain the rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse with cool water immediately. Stir the rice with a fork to let the steam escape. This will stop the cooking process. 

Prepare the Javaher Polow, the Persian Jewelled Rice 

If planning to make Tah-dig, the rice crust then, 

1. Return the pot to heat and add the ghee or butter and some of the saffron water and let it melt. 

2. Swirl the pot to ensure all of the pot's bottom is covered with ghee 

3. Place a flat aluminum lid or a flat pan under the rice pot. This is to help even distribution of heat and prevent burning. This step is must to ensure even heat distribution on a gas stove. 

4. Transfer some of the parboiled rice to cover the bottom of the pot, at least 1/2 inch. 

5. Start adding the remaining rice in the center of the pot over the bed of rice we added for tah-dig building it into a pyramid. Don’t have to level this. 

6. Pour the reserved orange carrot syrup, any leftover saffron water and the required water over the rice 

7. Cover the pot with a tea towel and close it with the tight lid and let it cook on the lowest flame for 45 to 50 minutes. 

If you don't want the crispy rice crust, then 

1. Add all of the parboiled rice into the rice pot piling up in a pyramid shape. 

2. Dot the rice pyramid with ghee or butter, any leftover saffron water, and the water 

3. Cover the pot with a tea towel and close it with the tight lid and let it cook on the lowest flame for 45 to 50 minutes. 

Plating the Javaher Polow 

1. Switch off, remove the lid and the tea cloth and place the pot over the folded tea cloth 

2. Scoop 2 to 3 large spoons of rice into the caramelized onion bowl. To this, fold in a little of everything from nuts to fruits and keep aside. 

3. Take a large serving plate, carefully scoop out the rice without disturbing the rice crust 

4. Top the rice with the caramelized onion mix and the rest of the prepared jewels (reserve some for decoration, if you like to) 

5. Carefully remove the crispy rice crust in large pieces and serve them separately 

6. Decorate the top with the remaining nuts and dried fruits 

7. Serve with choice of kababs, salad, and yoghurt!


Javaher Polow with Tah-dig
Javaher Polow with Tah-dig


Noosh-e-jan! (Bon AppΓ©tit) I hope you enjoyed my post! Do try making this Persian Jewelled rice for your next celebration along with some amazing kabobs that Shanaz already has here. Thank you for this opportunity, dearest Shanaz! May Allah bless you and your work for years to come! .

4 comments:

  1. This is such a beautiful looking rice! I have to try this... love anything Iranian but never heard of javaher polo... I will skip the orange rind and try with the rest of the ingredients... hehe... Lovely post, Fami as usual... her posts never fail to make me smile... :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Beautiful write up ...as usual.I love her middle eastern recipes the most.Thanks for the humour dose through your writing .

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  3. The plate looks lovely and I agree with you on keeping all the ingredients ready before cooking!! I do have the habit of hunting down ingredients half way through the cooking!! This looks like quite a bit of effort but adequately paid off!

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