This is a favorite rice dish in Iran, where it is called Baghali Polo. The combination of beans, dill, and warm spices works very well, and the saffron rice adds a cheerful splash of bright color.

  • 275 g / 10 oz / 1½ cups basmati rice, soaked
  • 750 ml / 1¼ pints / 3 cups water
  • 40 g / 1½ oz / 3 tbsp melted butter
  • 175 g / 6 oz / 1½ cups frozen baby broad (fava) beans, thawed and peeled
  • 90 ml / 6 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill, plus 1 fresh dill sprig, to garnish
  • 5 ml / 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 5 ml / 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2-3 saffron threads, soaked in 15 ml / 1 tbsp boiling water
  • salt
  1. Drain the rice, tip it into a pan and pour in the water. Add a little salt. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer very gently for 5 minutes. Drain, rinse well in warm water, and drain once again.
  2. Melt the butter in a non-stick pan. Pour two-thirds of the melted butter into a small jug (pitcher) and set aside. Spoon enough rice into the pan to cover the base. Add a quarter of the beans and a little dill. Spread over another layer of rice, then a layer of beans and dill. Repeat the layers until all the beans and dill have been used up, ending with a layer of rice. Cook over a low heat for 8 minutes, until nearly tender.
  3. Pour the reserved melted butter over the rice. Sprinkle with the ground cinnamon and cumin. Cover the pan with a clean dishtowel and a tight-fitting lid, lifting the corners of the cloth back over the lik. Cook over a low heat for 25-30 minutes.
  4. Spoon about 45 ml / 3 tbsp of the cooked rice into the bowl of saffron water and mix well. Mound the remaining rice mixture of a large serving plate and spoon the saffron rice on one side to decorate. Decorate with the dill sprig and serve immediately.
Rice with Dill and Broad Beans