Roshanak’s Sabzi Polo or Dill & Fava Bean Rice with Romaine Tahdig

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Tah means bottom and dig means pot.  In Persian cuisine, there are many varieties of rice dishes that feature this crisp bottom called tah-dig.  Some popular versions include a crisp rice or potato bottom.  In this unique seasonal dish made in spring and early summer, the steamed rice is cooked over a bed of lettuce.  To keep crisp, you must rinse the bottom of the pot with very cold water, immediately flip out and serve.  This dish is traditionally served with Braised lamb shanks.


2 cups quality Basmati rice
3/4 lb. shelled frozen or fresh fava beans, skins removed
3 large bunches dill, rinsed, dried and chopped by hand or in food processor
3 tsbp. canola oil
2 tbsp. kosher salt
5 romaine lettuce leaves
2 tbps. unsalted butter

*Traditionally served with braised lamb shanks


1. Wash the rice until it runs clear.  Soak it in a bowl of cold water with 1 tbps. salt for 2 hours.

2. Fill 3/4 of a large nonstick pot with water, add 1 tbsp. salt and bring to a boil.

3. Drain the water that the rice has been soaking in and add only the rice to the pot. Bring the water back to a boil. This may take 3-4 minutes. Stir gently and very occasionally. Let it boil for another 2 minutes, until rice grows in length and is semi-soft. (Don’t cook rice completely, because it will get very sticky later on)

4. Have a sieve ready in the sink.

5. Add the fava beans to pot, stir and immediately drain the rice and beans into the sieve.  Rinse the pot with cold water and pour over the rice.

6. Clean the pot and dry well, add the oil.  Spread the lettuce all over the oily base like a nest.  Add the rice and fava beans in 1/3rds, mixing chopped dill into each layer of rice.  Create a pyramid like shape and poke 4 holes into the rice with the handle of a long wooden spoon.

7. Pour 1/4 cup of cold water around the outer edge of the rice.  Turn the heat to medium high. This will steam later and help the rice cook completely.  Wrap a kitchen towel around the lid and cover the pot to create a tight seal.

8. When you see the steam will begin coming out of the pot (3-5 minutes), reduce the heat to low and let cook for 25 minutes.

9. Add 2 tbsp. butter.  Cover and cook another 10 minutes.  

10. When the rice is done, rinse the whole bottom of the pot with very cold water from the faucet.  Make sure no water enters the pot.

11. At this point you remove the lid, place a dish over th pot and flip the rice out as you would a cake.  Conversely, you may the spoon the rice onto a serving dish and decorate with the crisp lettuce.