Albalou Polo (Iranian Sour Cherry Pilaf)
saucepan (medium), 2 pots (large, with lid), 2 colanders, liquid measuring cup (small), frying pan (small)
- 250 g sour cherry, pitted
- 25 g sugar
- 250 g Iranian rice
- saucepan (medium)
- pot (large, with lid)
In a medium sauce pan, add the pitted sour cherries and most of the sugar, reserve about one tablespoon of sugar for step 4. Let them rest while you cook the rice and prepare other things. Wash the rice under cold water and drain. Boil a large pot of salted water over high heat. When boiled, add the rice and stir time to time.
Check the rice after 6-8 min. They should be much harder than “al dente” and if you break one in half, the very center must be a little whiter (it means the middle has not absorbed the water yet). From this moment, and before the rice gets soft and puffed, drain the rice into a colander and wash with cold running water.
- ¼ tsp saffron
- ¼ tsp rose water
- liquid measuring cup (small)
- pot (large, with lid)
In a small cup, add saffron and 15 ml hot water. Let steam for some minutes then pour in rose water. In a large nonstick pot with lid, add enough oil to cover the bottom. Pour in the same amount of water and place it over high heat. Drizzle half of saffron to the pot and let it sizzle. Scatter a layer off semi-cooked rice into the pot, then pile up rest in a dome-like shape. Cover with lid and cook the rice over high heat for about 8-10 min. then reduce the heat to medium-low.
- 12½ g sliced almonds
- 12½ g chopped pistachios
- 12½ g julienned orange zest
- frying pan (small)
Heat up 1-2 tbsp oil into a small pan over medium heat. Add the chopped almonds and pistachios. Cook for less than 30 seconds, they should not get colored. Remove from the pan and set aside. In the same pan add the zest and reserved sugar. Cook for some minutes, the remove from the heat and add a few drops of saffron.
Back to sour cherries; place the saucepan over high heat, cook until the sugar has dissolved and the cherries start to reveal their water. Remove from the heat and set aside. If the juice is more than half a cup, place them over a colander to separate some of their juice.
After about 30-45 min. the rice should be cooked fairly enough. If you like the crunchy browed rice at the bottom, aka “tah-dig”, pay attention to the sizzling voices from the bottom of the pot. If it sizzles regularly, you have to wait for some more minutes. As the sizzling sound gets time to time, meaning that most of the water/steam is absorbed by the rice, increase the heat to high and wait for 5 more minutes to reach a crunchy tah-dig.
To serve the dish, mix 2 tbsp of rice with remaining saffron. Distribute half of the white rice onto an appropriate plate. Arrange a layer of sour cherries, some of almond-pistachio, part of the zest over and a tbsp of saffrony rice. Then repeat the whole process one more time. Set the crispy tah-dig pieces around the plate. Enjoy!