Persian Herbed Rice with white fish (Sabzi Polo Ba Mahi)

Well, today is the Persian New Year, Norooz! I have blogged about the Persian New Year earlier, but now I want to tell you about the day’s typical menu. The menu consists of tasty herbed rice with white fish as the symbol of abundance. It is an easy and an excellent combination.

Ingredients for 4 Portions

2 1/2 dl Basmati rice
2 1/2 dl well-chopped parsley
1 1/2 dl well-chopped chives
1 dl dried dill (or 2 1/2 dl well chopped fresh dill)
1/2 – 1 dl well-chopped coriander
1/2 teaspoon Saffron plus 3 tablespoons hot water
5-6 garlic cloves (peeled)
1 pc. White smoked fish (650 grams)
2 pcs. Potatoes
10 -20 small tomatoes
Butter or Margarine

spring onions
Any herbs, parsley, basil.


  1. Mix saffron with warm water and stir until it has dissolved. Put it aside.
  2. Peel the potatoes and cut them into thin slices – set aside.
  3. Mix all the herbs in a bowl and put them aside.
  4. Peel the garlic and cut it in length; set it aside.
  5. Wash the rice 7 times in cold water. It is desirable but not necessary to soak the rice 1-2 hours before. If you soak the rice, you need to use 1 – 2 tablespoons of salt in the water.
  6. Take a large saucepan, fill it with about 2 liters of water and 1 – 2 tablespoons of salt. When the water starts to boil – drain the rice from soaking water and pour it into the boiling water. Let it cook vigorously for about 5 minutes (depending on the quality of the rice). When the bubbles come from the saucepan’s center (see photo), you can do the rice test. Take a rice grain and pull it with two fingers; if the rice divides into three parts, it is time to drain it again.
  7. Drain the rice.
  8. Put the pan back on the stove, lower the heat to the average temperature. Pour 2 tablespoons of butter and an equal amount of water.
  9. Pour in about 1 tablespoon of saffron water.
  10. Allow the liquid to simmer for a few seconds. Remove the saucepan and place the potatoes at the bottom and around the saucepan.
  11. Now pour in some “spoons” of rice, then some herbs and garlic, continue until you have used all the rice and herbs and garlic. Finish with rice at the top and melted butter. Save two garlic cloves for the fish.
  12. Fold a kitchen towel twice, put it over the pan, put on the lid. My stove has 9 degrees – initially, I use 9 – until the rice is ready to drain. Then I lower it to 4 when I’m prepared to turn in the rice and herbs. When I put the pot on the stove again, it’s 4 that I use for about 20 minutes. Then I lower it to 2 for about 40 minutes. When all else is finished, I increase the heat to 5 or 6 for about 3 minutes. This method works fine for me.
  13. Turn on the oven 150-degree Celsius convection oven (or 175 degrees in the usual oven).
  14. Now you can put the fish in the oven in an oven-proof dish – put in 2 garlic cloves. It takes about 20 – 25 minutes to get the fish heated. Last 15 minutes, you can put in the tomatoes.
  15. For serving: please take a couple of spoons of the rice in a bowl and mix it with remaining saffron water. Pour it over the rice just before serving. Arrange the potatoes around the rice.
  16. Take out the fish, decorate with lime, spring onions, lemon.

Serve yogurt with the dish.


Leave a Reply