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Sabzi Polo

Sabzi Polo (Persian herbed rice)

(Persian herbed rice)

Average: 4.5 (12 votes)

Sabzi polo is a brilliant green version of the famous Persian "polo," or pilaf, rice dishes. The green comes from a variety of herbs that give an otherwise plain dish a sublime flavor.

Pair sabzi polo with fried fish, and you have sabzi polo va mahi, the traditional Nowruz Persian New Year meal.

4 to 6 servings


  • Basmati rice -- 3 cups
  • Scallions, minced -- 2 bunches
  • Dill weed, finely chopped -- 1 cup
  • Parsley, finely chopped -- 1 cup
  • Cilantro, finely chopped -- 1 cup
  • Oil or melted butter -- 1/3 cup
  • Stock or water -- 2 cups


  1. In a large bowl, wash and drain the rice in 2 or 3 changes of water. Add more water to cover and set the rice aside to soak for 1 to 2 hours.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drain the soaked rice and stir it into the boiling water. Return to a boil and cook the rice for 2 to 3 minutes. Then drain the rice, discarding the water.
  3. Mix the scallions, dill, parsley and cilantro together. Spread the oil or melted butter over the bottom of the pot you used to boil the rice. Spread one-third of the rice over the bottom of the pot. Next spread 1/2 of the mixed herbs in a second layer over the rice. Spread another 1/3 of the rice in a layer over the herbs and the rest of the herbs over this second layer of rice. Finally, top with the remaining rice and smooth out the surface. Pour the stock or water over the rice and stick 4 or 5 holes into the rice with the handle of a wooden spoon.
  4. Cover the pot tightly with aluminum foil and then with a lid and set over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Then reduce heat to low and simmer slowly for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest another 15 minutes.
  5. Gently stir the rice and herbs together with a large fork. Mound in serving dish and serve the crusty bottom (called the tadig) in a dish on the side.

Sabzi Polo Variations

  • Sabzi polo va mahi: This is a traditional dish served on Nowruz, the Persian New Year. Simply serve sabzi polo with fried whole fish or fish fillets.
  • Other herbs that can be used include fenugreek leaves and garlic chives. For an extra special dish, sprinkle a big pinch of saffron into the stock or water.


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