Ever heard about Addas Polow? It is a Persian dish with rice as main ingredients. This is a traditional dish of Persians who are claimed to be absolute masters of rice cookery. The Persian or Iranian cooking is among the least known of all the world’s significant cuisines. The main reason is related to the fact that a few Westerners travel to Iran, but Iranian communities, which have flourished in America and Europe with their own markets and restaurants have influenced somehow in spreading the good word about their delicious cuisine.
If you try this cuisine you will fall in love with the color, delicacy and perfumed scent of Persian cooking. Anyone who gets a chance to try it will also be intrigued by the way Persian cooks use the contrasting flavors nd textures of fruits, nuts, meat and grain.
Persians often cook their rice in two stages: a quick blanching in boiling water followed by slow steaming, which makes the grains light, seperate and fragrant.
This magnificient polow combines dates, sultanas and lentils with buttery, saffron-scented rice.
Margaret Shaida notes in her introduction that Persians feel that lentils are good to slow the metabolism and calm a temperamental person.
The recipe, according to Margaret, refers to ‘liquid saffron’, which saffron that has been ground to a powder and mixed with water, in the Iranian style.
And she explains how to prepare it as below:
“Ensure that the saffron is completely dry. If you suspect it may not be, then put 20 to 30 pistils in a tiny mortar and place in a warm oven for a few minutes. Add half a dozen grains of sugar and with a pestle (or the back of a teaspoon) crush the saffron and suggar to a fine powder. If using within an hour or two, mix with 4 or 5 teaspoons tepid water and leave to infuse to a deep orange color. If the ground saffron is mixed with the boiling water it can be kept in a jar for several weeks.
Ingredients of Addas Polow, you can find some of them in a regular market and some others, typical Iranian products, you can find in an Iranian or Persian market:
- 500g basmati long grain rice
- 6tablespoons salt
- 120ml vegetable oil
- 50g clarified unsalted butter
- 4 teaspoons liquid saffron
For the polow:
- 100g green lentils
- 50g sultanas
- 100g stoned dates
For the garnish:
- 1 medium onion
Pick over the rice, wash thoroughly in 5 or 6 changes of water and leave to soak in salted water to cover by at least 2.5 cm for 3 hours.
Pick over the lentils, wah and simmer gently n lightly salted water until tender. Strain and reserve, adding the stock to the water for rice.
Clean the sultanas and soak in a little warm water for 20 minutes. Cut the dates across into two and fry briefly in a little oil.
Bring about 2 litres of water with 3 tablespoons of salt to a rapid boil in a 3.4 litre saucepan. Pour excess water from rice and pour intothe fast-bubling water. Bring back to the boil and boil for 2-3 minutes. After 2 minutes, test to see if the rice is ready: the grain should be soft on the outside but still firm in the centre. Strain and rinse with tepid water. Toss rice gently in colander.
Return the rinsed-out saucepan to the heat and oil and 2-3 tablespoons of water. Heat till sizzling. Sprinkle one layer of rice across the bottom. Then spread about a third of lentils and sultanas over the rice, then another layer of rice and another layer of lentils and sultanas. Repeat once more, finishing with a layer of rice and building it up into a conical shape. Place the dates to one side on top of the rice to steam.
Poke two to three holes hrough the rice to the bottom with the handle of a wooden spoon. Wrap the saucepan lid in a clean teacloth and cover pan firmly. Keep on a high heat for 2-3 minutes until the rice is steaming, then reduce heat to low for at least 30 minutes. The rice can be kept warm and fresh on the very lowest heat for a further hour or even longer.
Thinly slice the onion and fry briskly in oil until golden brown and crisp.
Place saucepan of rice on a cold wet surface and leave fo a minute or two. While waiting, meltthe butter and put aside for garnish. Lightly mix 2 or 3 tablespoons of rice with the liquid saffron in a small bowl; reserve for garnish.
To dish up, gently toss and mix the rice and ingredients and sprinkle lightly on to a warmed dish in a symmetrical mound. The dates may be put all round the dish at the base of the rice. Garnish with the saffron rice and the fried onion, and pour the melted butter all over to give it a sheen.
Finally, remove the crusty bottom and serve on a separate plate.
If you wish, tender pieces of lamb may also be served as an accompaniment.
Recipe source: The Legendary Cuisine of Persia, Margaret Shaida
But if you want a simpler version of Addas Polow, watch this video.