Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Baghali Polo

Here is a familiar dish that I recently learned had roots in Persia. My mother was introduced to this dish by my sister's childhood Kurdish friend when her mother brought a plate of it over to our house. It's a dill and fava bean rice, known as Baghali Polo in Persian Cuisine.

Favas in Arabic are Baqila, and they are very popular all over the Middle East. In Iraq they are known as Bajila and the dry form is boiled and served as a nice soup - introduced to you hopefully in another post sometime - and the green form is also cooked in this Persian style rice.

All that said I doubt they are as pouplar anywhere as in Egypt, where it is a hearty rustic dish that everyone is familiar with and known as "foul mudamas"

Just like peas and mint are a pouplar combination favas go beautifully with Dill, Shbint in Kurdish or Shibitt in Arabic and Farsi or sometimes Sheveen in Farsi too.
The rice my mother knew was made with a round calarose type rice in Kurdistan but upon searching almost all the Persian recipes were made with a nice fluffy basmati, and being my favourite rice I thought to go with it.

I've combined two recipes that I found online but it's a simple recipe.

-Lots of chopped fresh dill
-Shelled green baby favas (I had thawed from frozen)
-Soaking basmati in salted water for a few hours
-Took the recommendation from one recipe to sautee the fava with some garlic and set aside
-Bring Basmati to a boil for 10-12 mins in a big pot of salted water, drained and rinsed.

Then it was all assembled layering the rice over some oil and a few drops of water and then adding dill, fava and more rice until the last layer was rice. Making holes in the rice and steaming on high for 8 mins or so then adding a bit of water (less than half the amount of rice) and steaming with a lid covered in a kitchen towel for 40 mins or so on a low setting.
A little melted butter can be added to the top when it's done then flipped out onto a pan and gently arranged for serving.

Next time I'd like to add more dill, lots more and see what other things I can do to learn how to perfect the cooking process. I'd also like to add more chopped dill to it after it's cooked because I like the fresh taste.

Any tips and ideas are welcome, feel free to comment and let me know what you think.


Gina said...

i LOVE dill so adding more sounds like a great idea to me. it looks so light and still so comforting. i can't wait to try this.

Unknown said...

I am Iranian and I make this food sometimes :) This is a popular dish in Iran that usually goes with cooked lamb or chicken. Fish also can be a good food to go with this rice!

If you add chopped garlic (a lot of garlic) along with dills and Baghila as you are layering them with the rice (before steaming the rice), you will get a much tastier result.

P.S: In Persian dill is called shiveed (not shiveen) or sometimes shibbit :)