Broad bean, borlotti and dill rice

Broad bean, borlotti and dill rice

Baghali polow

Mark Roper

Broad beans and dill go beautifully together and we tried several versions of this classic dish 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 peel are not strictly traditional, but they add an extra dimension of flavour.


Quantity Ingredient
300g 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 peel, all pith removed


  1. Wash the rice thoroughly, then leave it to soak in a generous amount of lukewarm water for 30 minutes. Swish it around with your fingers every now and then to loosen the starch.
  2. Strain the rice, rinsing it again with warm water. Bring 2 litres water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the salt and stir in the strained rice. Return the water to a rolling boil and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Test the rice by pinching a grain between your fingers or by biting it. It should be soft on the outside, but still hard in the centre. Strain the rice and rinse again with warm water. Toss it several times to drain away as much of the water as you can.
  3. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Pod the broad beans and borlotti beans, then blanch them briefly, separately, in the boiling water and peel the broad beans. If using frozen broad beans, slip them out of their skins.
  4. 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 5 or 6 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 this over the rice. Sit the garlic clove and lemon peel on top of the rice. Wrap the saucepan lid in a clean tea towel and cover the pan as tightly as you can.
  5. Leave the pan on a medium–high heat for a 2–3 minutes until the rice is visibly steaming – you will see puffs of steam escaping from the edges of the pan. Turn the heat down to low and leave the pan alone for 40 minutes. Resist the temptation to peek, as this releases the steam and affects the cooking time. The rice can actually sit quite happily over the lowest possible heat for another 20 minutes or so.
  6. When ready to serve, sit the saucepan in a little cold water in the sink; the sudden change in temperature creates a surge of steam that ‘shocks’ the rice and makes it shrink from the sides, which loosens the crusty bottom.
  7. To serve, invert the pan onto a warm serving platter so that the rice and beans plop out as one glorious, golden-capped mound. Otherwise, spoon the rice into a warm serving dish and when you reach the crispy base, lift it out and drape it over the rice. It doesn’t matter in the slightest if the tah-deeg breaks. Alternatively, present it on a separate plate.
Middle Eastern
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