Broad bean, borlotti and dill rice

Broad bean, borlotti and dill rice

New Middle Eastern Food
Mark Roper

Broad beans and dill go beautifully together and we tried several versions of this classic dish, baghali polow, while on our travels. It is particularly good served with lamb, but makes a great vegetarian option, accompanied by a big bowl of creamy yoghurt.

You can make this polow quite happily with frozen broad beans, but don’t forget to slip them out of their outer skins. The dried mint and lemon zest are not strictly traditional, but they add an extra dimension of flavour.


Quantity Ingredient
300g iranian or best-quality basmati rice
2 tablespoons sea salt
1kg broad beans in the pod
or 300g frozen broad beans
600g borlotti beans in the pod
70ml vegetable oil
1/3 cup chopped dill sprigs
1 heaped teaspoon dried mint
40g unsalted butter, melted
1 large garlic clove, lightly crushed
1 long strip lemon zest, all pith removed


  1. Wash, soak and parboil the rice as with Persian chelow.
  2. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Pod the broad beans and borlotti beans, then blanch them briefly, separately, in the boiling water. Peel the broad beans. If using frozen broad beans, there’s no need to blanch them first; just slip them out of their skins.
  3. Return the rice saucepan to a medium heat and add the oil and 2 tablespoons water. As soon as the oil begins to sizzle, spoon in enough rice to cover the base of the saucepan in a thin layer. Gently toss the remaining rice with the beans, dill and mint and spoon it into the pan, building it up into a pyramid. Use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke five or six holes down through the rice to the base of the pan to help it steam. Mix 2 tablespoons warm water with the melted butter and drizzle over the rice. Sit the garlic clove and lemon zest on top of the rice and continue as with Persian chelow.
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