March 29, 2010

Shevid Baghali Polow with Morgh - Dill Lima Beans Rice with Chicken

This is a well-blended, aromatic saffron rice with flavorful fresh dill, soft and nutty lima beans and tangy saffron chicken. شوید باقالی پلوبا مرغ  Shevid Baghali Polow Ba Morgh (dill lima beans rice with chicken) or lamb shanks is a nice colorful dish to prepare for yourself, serve your guests or take on outdoor picnics. It's also one of the dishes we make for Sizdah Bedar (getting rid of thirteen), which marks the last day of the Nowruz celebration. On this day, Iranians celebrate the 13th day of Nowruz by preparing delicious meals and heading out to parks and open fields to play games and listen to music, alongside friends and family. This is the day that we get rid of our Sabzeh (wheat sprouts) by throwing it in a river, which symbolizes getting rid of any misfortune, sickness and troubles. Since there is no nearby river where I live and I don't want to pollute the pond in my neighborhood and the Atlantic ocean, I leave it out in the garden to dry out and become one with nature. 

Growing up in different towns in Khuzestan (south of Iran), we had to drive far to find a green patch with trees for sizdah bedar and we would share it with other families, which was always fun to find more kids to play with. For those of us who were born, raised or have experienced the Nowruz in Khuzestan, we all know that there's nothing like it and I always cherish the memories of sizdah bedar picnics with my family. Shevid baghali polow with chicken or lamb and a big pot of Ash Reshteh were the two dishes we'd take on picnics.

Shevid Baghali Polow with Morgh - Dill Lima Beans Rice with Chicken

Morgh - Chicken

Serves 4-6

8 chicken drumsticks (other parts may be used as well)
1 large onion, finely chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon powdered saffron dissolved in 2-3 tablespoons of hot water
1/4 teaspoon crushed cardamom (optional)
Juice of 1-2 lemons/limes
Salt and pepper to taste
Vegetable oil  


  1. In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium heat, saute onions till translucent. Add the chopped garlic and turmeric, saute for an additional five minutes. 
  2. Place the chicken pieces in the skillet, add salt, pepper, cardamom and brown on all sides. 
  3. Pour in enough water to cover all pieces. 
  4. Cook on medium-low heat for an hour. 
  5. Half way through the cooking add the liquid saffron and in the last fifteen minutes sprinkle the lemon juice evenly over the chicken. 
  6. Taste and adjust the seasoning and set aside.

Polow - Rice


2 cups basmati rice
2 cups baby lima beans (fresh or if frozen, thawed)
2 cups finely chopped fresh dill or 1 1/2 cup dried (I used 1 1/2 cups fresh and 1/2 cup dried)
1/3 teaspoon turmeric
Dash of cinnamon *optional
Vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon powdered saffron dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water

  1. In a small bowl mix dill, lima beans, turmeric, dash of salt and cinnamon, mix well. Set aside.
  2. Wash rice with cool water, soak in 8 cups of water, add 4 tablespoons of salt for 1-2 hours. 
  3. In a non-stick pot bring 3 quarts of water to a boil and gently pour in the drained rice. 
  4. Let the rice boil for 7 minutes and test to see if the rice is ready. Rice grains should be firm in the center and soft on the outside. 
  5. Drain and rinse with cool water. 
  6. Wash the pot and return it to heat, add 4 tablespoons of oil to cover the bottom. 
  7. Place a layer of rice then a layer of dill and beans and continue layering into a pyramid shape. Make 4 holes in the rice with a bottom of a spoon to let the steam out. 
  8. Cook the rice for 5-7 minutes on medium to high heat till rice starts steaming.  
  9. Pour 2 tablespoons oil and 1/4 cup of water and the liquid saffron may be added at this point  or later on when you serve it on the platter. 
  10. Lower the heat, cover and cook for  50 minuets. 
Arrange the rice and the chicken pieces on a platter and serve warm.

* Variations: Cooked chicken could be added to the rice as another layer when layering rice with herbs and beans. If you are cooking the rice and chicken together, instead of using the melted butter for topping, add a couple of tablespoons of chicken liquid on top of the rice before putting the lid back on tightly.

Enjoy and Happy Sizdah Bedar!


  1. Beautiful! I will try this tomorrow...

  2. happy sizdah bedar to you, too, azita joon. and what a beautiful dish to celebrate it with . x shayma

  3. Do you know that this is my absolute favorite Persian dish? When the fragrance of the dill and saffron reach my nostrils I go ravenous! It is a masterpiece Azita!

  4. I love how this is really a full and complete meal. It has all of your food groups and each component really complements the others. gorgeous, just gorgeous!

  5. A beautiful dish, sounds amazing with dill and saffron!

  6. Delicious!

    I love your blog - Persian food is by far my favorite cuisine. Thank you so much for these delicious recipes so that we can make them in our homes :)

  7. I recently found your blog, but it is a long time that I am a big fan of Iranian cooking. I think I will start with this dish. I love the spice combination and I love the story behind them. And I'd love to be able to enjoy it in a field on Easter Monday, even if it is raining heavily now!

  8. wow this looks wonderful not too hard and great color

  9. Kolaleh: Thank you for visiting and commenting!
    Shayma joon: Thank you for your kind words.x
    Taste of Beirut: Thank you so much!
    Joanne: Yes, this has all of your food groups! Thanks!
    5 Star Foodie: Thank you!
    Nirvana: Thank you for stopping by and I'm glad you like Persian food. Enjoy!
    Caffettiera: I'm so glad you found my blog. Thank you so very much! Happy Easter!
    Chow and Chatter: You are very kind as always!

  10. Lovely. I will try this chicken and also your rice method soon. Many thanks for posting this! Happy Sizdah Bedar. :-)

  11. I love your blog and have in fact linked to several of your pieces in my recent post.

    Good job!

  12. Thank you for sharing this. My wife and I absolutely loved it!!

  13. Amazing recipe! Can't wait to try it soon! Quick question: For the rice, you say lower heat and cook for an additional 50 minutes. Do you mean 5 or 15 minutes? I would imagine that the basmati rice would be all mashed up after almost an hour of cooking. Thanks!

  14. @Anonymous, fifty minutes is just about the right amount of time for the rice to cook well and still be nice and fluffy. Give it a try and let me know what you think. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

  15. Azita, I'm planning on making this rice with lamb shank, but I only have dried lima beans. Do you know if I should soak them or boil them separately or both?

  16. Goli, soak and cook the beans separately and then add them to the rice and cook them together.

  17. Next dish from your blog that turned out to be delicious.
    Instead of lima beans (not available) I have used finely chopped green beans and as the chicken is concerned - chopped roughly skinless and boneless tights.
    I do not know how the original dish tastes but I hope similar and small inconveniences won't stop me from cooking from your tasty recipes.

    1. Thank you, Wioletta! I am so glad you gave this recipe a try and enjoyed it.

  18. Any chance you could post the lamb version?

  19. I tried this yesterday and it turned out amazing!! Thank you :)