Reshteh Polo (Persian Noodle Rice)


Reshteh polo is a fragrant rice and noodle dish often served at Nowruz (Iranian New Year) for lunch or dinner. You can purchase the roasted noodles from Iranian markets or online. The noodles in this dish symbolize good wishes for the new year. This version is prepared with crispy, saffron-tinged, potato tahdig.

Prep Time:
35 mins
Cook Time:
2 hrs 10 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 45 mins


  • 1 cup basmati rice

  • 3 ½ tablespoons kosher salt, divided

  • ¼ teaspoon saffron threads

  • 2 tablespoons boiling water

  • ½ (8 ounce) package roasted noodles

  • ¼ cup grapeseed oil

  • kosher salt, to taste

  • 2 medium gold potatoes, sliced into quarter rounds

  • ¼ cup boiling water

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 6 Medjool dates, pitted and quartered

  • ½ cup golden raisins, rinsed and drained

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Place rice in a medium bowl and cover with tepid water. Gently swish it around with your finger to activate the starches, then tip the bowl to drain water. Repeat this process until water runs clear, about 7 rinses. Cover rice with cold water, add 1/2 tablespoon salt, stir gently, and soak for 1 hour. Drain rice without rinsing.

  2. Crush saffron threads to a powder in a small mortar and pestle. Transfer to a small bowl with 2 tablespoons boiling water. Stir, cover, and set saffron water aside.

  3. Fill a 5-quart nonstick pot with 9 cups water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add 3 tablespoons salt and stir until dissolved. Break roasted noodles into thirds and add to boiling water with rice. Stir once gently, and watch carefully as it cooks so water does not boil over. Taste water for salt and adjust accordingly. Cook until first rice grain pops up to the surface. Set a timer for 4 minutes and cook, scooping off any foam from the surface until the timer goes off. Test rice and continue to cook until tender on the outside but still firm to the bite on the inside, 6 to 8 minutes more.

  4. Drain rice and noodles in a colander and rinse quickly with lukewarm water and a spray faucet to rinse off extra starch. Taste and gently rinse again if too salty. Set aside to drain completely. Wash and dry the pot.

  5. Place the clean pot over medium heat. Add oil, 1 tablespoon saffron water, and a pinch of salt; swirl the pot until the bottom and lower sides are coated with the oil mixture. Tightly overlap potato slices in a single layer covering the bottom of the pot to create the tahdig layer.

  6. Gently scatter rice-noodle mixture over the tahdig in a pyramid shape, making sure potatoes are completely covered and moving noodles away from the sides of the pot. Gently poke the handle of a wooden spoon into rice and noodles a few times, being careful not to hit tahdig; this will allow steam to escape while cooking. Cover and cook until you see steam escaping from the sides of the lid and tahdig starts to set, about 10 minutes.

  7. Meanwhile, combine 1/4 cup boiling water with 2 tablespoons melted butter and remaining saffron water. Lay a kitchen towel out on a heatproof surface.

  8. Test tahdig by quickly tapping the side of the pot with a wooden spoon. When the pot sizzles, remove it from the heat. Remove the lid and place it on the kitchen towel, being careful that none of the condensation drips into the pot. Wrap the towel around the lid and secure the ends at the top by the handle so they will not hang near the heat source. Drizzle butter mixture over rice and cover with the towel-wrapped lid.

  9. Place a heat diffuser on a burner over low or medium-low heat and return the pot to the stove. Cook until crispy, rotating the pot a few times, about 35 minutes. Remove from the heat and place on a damp kitchen towel; let sit, uncovered, for 5 minutes so tahdig will release easily.

  10. Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a small pan over medium heat. Add dates, raisins, and cinnamon; sprinkle with a little salt. Cook and stir until dates are glistening and soft, 3 to 5 minutes.

  11. Gently scatter rice on a platter and remove potato tahdig pieces and serve on the side. Sprinkle raisin-date sauce over top.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

287 Calories
12g Fat
45g Carbs
4g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 10
Calories 287
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 12g 15%
Saturated Fat 4g 22%
Cholesterol 15mg 5%
Sodium 2124mg 92%
Total Carbohydrate 45g 16%
Dietary Fiber 2g 9%
Total Sugars 16g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 15mg 1%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 176mg 4%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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