By CHEF SOPHIA PARSA
This is a signature dish for the Persian New Year. I remember growing up, my house always smelled like sabzi pollo the entire month of March (the month of the Persian New Year). It’s a beautiful green, herbed rice dish composed of a medley of herbs and other greens — typically eaten with fish or salmon. It reminds me of new beginnings.
- 2 cups basmati rice
- 1 1⁄2 cup fresh dill (chopped)
- 1⁄2 cup fresh chives or leeks (chopped)
- 1⁄2 cup fresh cilantro (chopped)
- 1⁄2 cup fresh parsley (chopped)
- 1⁄8 cup vegetable oil plus 4 tbsp
- 5-6 romaine lettuce leaves
- Rinse basmati rice at least three times. Set aside.
- Mix all the chopped herbs in a large bowl and set aside.
- Fill a large nonstick pot with water, place over high heat, cover with a lid
and bring water to boil. Once the water is boiling, pour the rinsed rice into
the water and cook for 7-8 minutes until the rice is soft on the outside, but still firm on the inside. Drain using a colander and mix the dill, chives/leeks, cilantro, and parsley with the rice.
- Place the pot over medium-high heat. Add the vegetable oil and completely coat the bottom and sides of the pot. When the oil begins to sizzle, add enough rice to coat the bottom of the pot evenly. Add individual pieces of lettuce leaves on the bottom of the pot as well. Press down gently, but firmly to compact the rice and press about 2 inches up the sides to form a crust. Spoon the remaining herb rice mixture over the top, forming a small mound in the center.
- Using the handle of a wooden spoon, make 5 deep holes at the top of the
rice mound to vent steam down into the rice. Cover the pot with the lid and cook for about 10 minutes. When it’s done, you will see steam rising from underneath the lid.
- Remove the lid from the pot, being careful not to drip condensation back
into the pot. Turn the heat to low. Wrap the lid with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel, securing at the top to keep loose ends away from the fire. Cover with the lid and continue to cook, rotating the pot every so often for even browning, until the crust is deeply brown, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and remove the lid.
- To serve, flip the pot over a serving platter or large plate and garnish with
fresh herbs. This dish is traditionally served with white fish or salmon — but delicious on its own as well!