Chelow ba Polow Paz (Persian Saffron-Flavored Rice)


Persian rice is famous for its delicate, tender grains, cooked traditionally by a long, slow steaming process. This more modern method using an electric rice cooker also produces delicate rice. Look for rice cookers that have a thermostat, which can be set for making the rice’s golden crust, or tah dig, that Persians love. When cooked, prerinsed Indian basmati rice gives off a delightful perfume that nonrinsed rice does not have. If you are using American basmati, you need only rinse the rice once. If you use brown basmati rice, cook it in the ratio of 1 part rice to 2 parts water.

  • SERVINGServings


  • 4 cups long-grain white basmati rice
  • 5 cups cold water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, butter or ghee
  • 1 Tbs. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground saffron threads, dissolved in 2 Tbs. hot water, optional
  • Edible flowers for garnish


  1. Pick over rice, and carefully remove any grit. Wash rice by placing it in large container, and cover with warm water. Agitate rice grains gently with hands, and pour off water. Repeat 5 times, or until rice is completely clean.
  2. Combine rice, water, oil and salt in rice cooker. Gently stir with wooden spoon until salt has dissolved. Start rice cooker.
  3. Cook for 40 minutes, but for rice with golden crust, continue to cook for another 50 minutes. Pour saffron water over rice, and unplug rice cooker.
  4. Allow rice to cool for 5 minutes without uncovering cooker. Remove cover, and place large serving platter on top of cooker. Hold cooker and platter firmly together, and turn over quickly to unmold. Garnish with edible flowers, and serve.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size: SERVES 12
  • Calories: 330
  • Carbohydrate Content: 54 g
  • Fat Content: 10 g
  • Protein Content: 5 g
  • Saturated Fat Content: 1 g
  • Sodium Content: 580 mg