Shirin Polow (Iranian Rice Pilaf)

Shirin Polow ++ the pear and plum

I veered from the original recipe in a big way but I love this.  Like, love LOVE this. I’m still working out the kinks with the “golden rice crust on the bottom” thing but even without getting this absolutely correct, this rice was AMAZING. The sweetness of the oranges against the scallions and spices was…. well…. dreamy. And like i said, I veered. I changed major things. And maybe this doesn’t even fit in the Shirin Polow category anymore? I don’t know. But I do know you should now commence cooking the best rice ever.

[ Based on a recipe from here: ]


  • 1/4 C Sugar
  • 1/4 C thinly Sliced Orange Peel (make sure to scrape as much of the white stuff off as you can. It can be really bitter. Also, chop peel really small or it will overwhelm the dish)
  • Just enough water to dissolve sugar
  • 4 C Long-Grain White Rice [I used Jasmine]
  • 2 T Kosher Salt
  • ½ Cup Milk
  • 1 teaspoon Fenugreek
  • ½ C Canola Oil
  • 2 T Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1 Cup Boiling Water
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo Chiles [Optional or use any spice here]
  • 1 T Dukkah [Optional but not nearly as good if you leave it out]
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cardamom
  • Raw Shredded Carrots
  • Roasted Vegetables [I used Mushrooms, Tomatoes & Red Peppers]
  • ½ Cup Slivered Almonds
  • ½ Cup Chopped Pistachios
  • A handful of Scallions
  • A handful of Cilantro


  1. Bring sugar and water to a boil in small pan [I used my tiny all clad fry pan] over high heat. Add orange peel and cook until tender, 8–10 minutes. Let cool and set aside.
  2. Cook your rice in salted water according to its directions about 5 minutes shy of being done. Put in colander to drain.
  3. While your rice cooks, shred the carrots and prep any other vegetables you plan on using.
  4. While rice drains, combine milk, fenugreek and oil in the pan you plan to use and turn on to medium heat [I’ve used my cast iron skillet as well as my All Clad Frying pan. The cast iron makes for easier removal of the crust as well as better flavor.]
  5. When rice is drained and milk pan is hot, add the rice to the milk mixture. Don’t stir it. Let it mound in the middle and using the back of a wooden spoon, make 5 holes for steam to escape. Cover and cook for about 10.
  6. While its cooking, get your butter, boiling water, and spices ready.
  7. After the ten minutes are up, pour the butter and boiling water over the rice, add the Scallions, Aleppo chiles, Dukkah, Cardamom  and lightly mix in (dont scrape up bottom yet). Cover and turn heat down to med-low and cook until the crust on the bottom is really brown; about 20 minutes. [You’ll want to check the progress at about 10 minutes, just to make sure its not burning]
  8. When done, scrape up crust from the bottom of the pan and mix into rice. Serve on a platter. Garnish with the orange peels, nuts, scallions, cilantro and the roasted vegetables on the side.