Baghali Polow ba Mahiche is one of the most popular dishes in Iran and is usually served at parties such as wedding ceremonies. The combination of rice with dills and broad beans is called Baghali Polow, and the fork-tender lamb shanks, which are served beside the rice, are called Mahiche. These two parts are served together to make a sublime taste.
The origin of this food dates back to the Safavid dynasty that ruled Iran from 1501 to 1722, and the kings were served rice and lamb shanks. Nowadays, it is a frequent dish among Iranian families, but still served and treated like a king’s food.
For this recipe, I suggest using lamb, but you can use lamb neck or ribs instead of shanks, depending on your taste. The most important thing is that the meat should have bones with it. Yes! It does have an effect on the taste of the meat. Also, I suggest using fresh broad beans as it really counts for having fresh and delicious rice.
- 500 Grams of lamb shanks, or one lamb shank for each person
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 Cups long grain rice (Basmati rice)
- 200 Grams of broad beans
- 1 Cup chopped dill, fresh or dried
- ¼ Teaspoons of ground saffron dissolved into 4 tablespoons of hot water
- 1 Teaspoon turmeric
- 1 Teaspoon salt (for the meat)
- 2 Tablespoons salt (for the rice)
- vegetable oil
- In a large bowl, rinse rice several times until the water runs clear. Fill the bowl with lukewarm water again and add 2 tablespoons of salt. Allow rice to soak for about 20 minutes.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pot over medium heat and saute the chopped onions until soft.
- Add the lamb shanks to the pot and stir for 3-4 minutes until the meat changes color.
- Add salt and turmeric to the pot and mix well.
- Add 3 tablespoons saffron water to the pot. Keep some saffron for rice topping.
- Pour 4 cups of water over the lamb shanks or enough water to cover half of the pot’s depth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover the lid, and let it simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours.
- Meanwhile, in another pot, add water until half of its depth and bring it to a boil. Then add the broad beans and let it boil for a few seconds only.
- Drain the rice and add it to boiling water. After 5-7 minutes of boiling, test to see if the rice is ready. Rice should be hard in the center and soft on the outside. Also, another way to see if it’s ready to drain is you will see the rice gains starting to come to the surface of the water.
- Drain the rice using a colander and add chopped dills to the rice, and mix. Be careful not to break the rice grains.
- Return to the pot and heat 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium heat. Place the rice and herb mixture in the pot in a pyramid shape.
- Add some butter or vegetable oil and 4 tablespoons of water on top of the rice.
- Reduce heat and cover the lid. Allow it to steam for 45 minutes.
- Using a fork, test if the lamb shanks are cooked and tender. If it is cooked, but the sauce is still watery, remove the lid from the pot and allow it to boil to reduce the water. If it’s too dry, adjust the water and allow it to cook for some more minutes.
- When the rice is ready, take a couple of spoons out of the pot and put them into a mixing bowl. Add the saffron mixture to it and give it a mix until the rice turn from white to yellow.
- Now spoon the rice on a serving platter, top it with saffron rice, and place the lamb shanks beside it with some fresh lime. Serve the meat sauce in a separate bowl or simply pour it over the meat and rice.