Hi lovelies! another Sunday….another post 🙂 You might be a little perplexed by the title of this post but not to worry, by the end of this post you will be all set with the lingo. This post is about rice, rice and more rice!
Rice is a staple in Persian cooking and is consumed with practically every meal. Most of the rice cultivated in Iran is from two provinces in the north called Gilan and Mazandaran (due to the soil quality and climate).
The rice used in Persian cooking is long grain hence it tends to hold it’s shape and doesn’t become sticky. So what’s the difference between “Chelo” and “Polo”? well, Chelo is the name used to describe plain white rice (usually with infused saffron) and Polo is rice that has a variety of ingredients like nuts, fruits and meat incorporated into it (similar to a biryani). Although Chelo is the official name for plain rice, most people tend to just stick to calling rice Polo.
There are so many varieties of Polo depending on the different regions in Iran that even I haven’t encountered them all. The most popular one is perhaps “Zereshk Polo” which is Barrberry rice which is usually eaten with chicken (very popular in celebratory occasions). This is a national dish as you can come across it anywhere throughout Iran. Other popular rice dishes include “Sabzi Polo” (a herb rice served with fish, usually eaten on new year’s eve and signifying start of spring), “Loobiya Polo” ( rice with green beans and meat, sometimes has potato in it depending on the region it’s from), “Addas Polo” (rice with lentils usually garnished with raisins and almonds) and lets not forget”Albaloo Polo” (my favourite!)
Cooking rice is an art form in Persian cooking, there are different methods of making it. One type is the usual steamed method which is known as “Katteh” . This is quite a simple and fast method of making plain rice. The other method is called “Abkesh”; this method is the proper and more elaborate way of making rice (either Chelo or Polo). In this method the rice is boiled, strained-other ingredients are added during this point and then cooked with oil. This method is the only way to produce “Tahdig”.
Tahdig literally translates to “bottom of pot”, it is created when rice is intact with the oil in the pot. It results in a crispy layer….words cannot describe the awesomeness of Tahdig. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love Tahdig and frankly, I don’t want to know them! Tahdig can be made with just about anything, it can be just with rice. It can be made by layering bread before adding the rice to the pot, it can be also made with slices of potato or cabbage even with sesame seeds….the possibilities are endless!
That’s all folks, you now know your “Chelo”from your “Polo” and are aware of the importance of rice in Persian cuisine!
As always please like, comment or share and I’ll catch you next time Xx