Sabzi Polo

This sabzi polo recipe uses a tortilla as a shortcut—as the rice steams on top, the tortilla sizzles into a crispy, golden-brown crust called tahdig.

Sabzi Polo topped with sesame seeds
Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
1 hrs 15 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 35 mins


  • 1/2 teaspoon ground saffron

  • 1/2 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 2 cups basmati rice, rinsed

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh parsley

  • 1 cup chopped fresh chives or green onion

  • 1 cup chopped fresh dill

  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

  • 1 teaspoon cumin

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

  • 1 large flour tortilla

  • 2 whole bulbs garlic

  • 4 tablespoons ghee or butter, melted

  • Lemon wedges for serving


  1. To bloom saffron, sprinkle saffron over a few
    ice cubes in a small bowl; let stand at room temperature until ice melts
    completely, about 45 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon salt and return to a boil. Add rice; return to a boil and cook until rice is al dente, about 4 minutes. Drain rice and transfer to a large bowl. Dry pot.

  3. Stir chopped parsley, chives, dill, cilantro, cumin, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt into rice.

  4. Heat oil in pot over medium heat. Sprinkle sesame seeds and turmeric over oil. Top with tortilla then rice mixture. Remove any loose, papery outer layers from garlic bulbs; nestle bulbs into rice mixture. Poke five holes in rice using the handle of a wooden spoon to allow steam to escape.

  5. Cover pot with a clean kitchen towel, then cover the pot with a lid. Cook, covered, over medium heat until steam starts escaping, about 10 minutes.

  6. Mix ghee into bloomed saffron in small bowl; pour mixture over rice. Reduce heat to low. Cook, covered, until rice is tender and garlic is softened, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove garlic; let cool until easy to handle, then peel each clove. Put serving platter upside down over pot and carefully invert rice onto platter. The tortilla tahdig will be on top.

Bloomed Saffron

I bloom saffron on ice, then use the liquid to flavor everything from marinades to rice with its robust, earthy-sweet taste.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

575 Calories
24g Fat
83g Carbs
12g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 575
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 24g 31%
Saturated Fat 7g 37%
Cholesterol 22mg 7%
Sodium 1107mg 48%
Total Carbohydrate 83g 30%
Dietary Fiber 8g 29%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 12g
Vitamin C 105mg 527%
Calcium 174mg 13%
Iron 6mg 34%
Potassium 617mg 13%

* 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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