This Persian recipe is apparently served the night before Norouz in many households. However, this was the first time I had ever heard of anything other than Sabzi Polo ba Mahi being served around Norouz. Either way I made Reshteh Polo and must say I liked it! And the good news is you can adjust some of the ingredients to your liking.
Ingredients (2-4 servings):
3 cups rice
100-120 grams Reshteh Poloee —this is Reshteh that has been roasted. You can buy raw Reshteh and roast it yourself, or buy the ready package. Both are found in Persian Grocery Stores…sometimes in international stores. Note: Reshteh resembles Vermicelli
stew meat, chicken, or fish — I used .5 lb stew meat for this specific recipe
dates (khorma) –Optional
1 small onion
Rinse and wash your rice then soak it in water (add salt as well). If you plan on using dates wash the dates and take out the seeds from the centers. If you plan on using raisins wash them too.
Cut up the onion. Cut up your meat if its not already cut into pieces. Add some oil in a pot (set temperature of burner to medium) and fry the onions until they begin turning a golden color. Add the meat and stir. After a few minutes add salt, pepper, and turmeric to the meat and stir the contents. Add about 1 cup of water to the meat and cover the pot with a lid and allow the meat to cook for 35-45 minutes on medium heat.
Once the meat is ready set the meat aside and strain a bit of the stock. Add a small amount of saffron to the stock and oil if needed then set aside. Then break up the Reshteh Poloee into smaller pieces (not too small and not too long).
Fill up a large pot halfway with water and place it on the stove (high heat). Once the water comes to a boil add the rice and salt water to the pot. Allow the rice to begin coming to a boil and then add the reshteh into the pot. You want to allow the reshteh to soften a bit. Once the contents in the pot begin coming to a boil again you want to use a strainer to empty the rice and reshteh. Add some oil and water to the pot and place it back on the burner (the heat is still on high).
Note: some people don’t place the pot back on the burner until they have returned the contents to the pot. If that is the case you will place the lid on the pot and allow steam to gather before placing a towel or cloth (damee) on the lid of the pot and allowing the polo to steam.
Add half the Reshteh Polo to the pot and then add the meat, raisins (optional), and dates (optional). Afterwards add the remaining Reshteh Polo on top of the meat and other contents. Pour the stock over the Reshteh Polo. Cover the lid of the pot with a cloth or towel and place on the pot. Once steam begins escaping from the sides of the lid take the temperature down to low and allow the Reshteh Polo to cook an additional 40 min. – 1 hour.
When you are ready to serve mix some saffron with hot water and add some of the Reshteh Polo to it. Once you have all the Reshteh Polo in a serving platter you can add the saffron rice on top of the dish.
Garnish with mast, torshi, or sabzi.