Baghali is Farsi for Fava Beans and in Azeri it is Pakhla. When you mix the amazing Persian steamed rice with baghali and shevid (dill), it is called Baghali Polo. If you have ever tasted green fava beans you know how delicate and buttery they are. The taste is like no other bean and when it is paried with the subtle and pleasant flavors of dill and Basmati rice, this ever popular delicious rice is created. Baghali Polo is fluffy and full of flavor and it complements a variety of meats such as chicken, turkey, lamb or beef; stewed, braised, or grilled! Today I’m preparing my favorite rice with tender, delicious chicken cooked in saffron tomato sauce, or Baghali Polo ba Morgh, or chicken with fava bean and rice.
[[Photo Credit: Shared according to CC licensing from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jpck/]]
Fresh green fava beans are available for a short few weeks in mid to late spring. This time of year in Iran the produce bazaars have fresh fava beans in pods and most stores give you the option of buying and cleaning the fava beans yourself, or for a minimal fee (by Western standards) the store owner will have them cleaned and delivered to your door within a couple of days. The process of cleaning the fresh fava beans is a time consuming task which involves, first removing the pod to expose the beans, then removing the outer skin of the beans (the beans above have the skin) before cooking them. This is one of those time saving and fairly inexpensive services that is available in Iran, among many other, that I find most intriguing when I visit there.
Please follow the instructions for making the Persian Steamed Rice up to the point where rice grains are soft on the edges and firm in the center. Add the fava beans to the boiling water with rice and bring it to another boil and then drain in the colander and rinse under cold water. Heat the oil and butter in the pot and cover the bottom of the pot with lavash pieces, then layer the rice and fava bean mixture with fresh chopped dill or dried dill. Sprinkle the top with optional saffron. Cover the pot with damkesh or a kitchen towel and steam for 45 minutes to one hour, or until the steam rises, the rice grains are tender and the Tahdig is crispy and golden.
Cook the chicken pieces with turmeric, salt, pepper, onion halves and water until tender. Discard the onion halves.
Sprinkle the optional saffron over the chicken pieces and use the back of a spoon to rub it all over the top. This gives the chicken a very rich color using very little saffron, but you may add more if you wish so.
Fry the sliced onions, add the tomato paste and saute until aromatic and add it to the cooked chicken.
Cook the chicken pieces in tomato sauce for 30 minutes, then turn and let the other side cook in the sauce for 30 minutes.
To serve Baghali Polo ba Morgh use a spatula to transfer the steamed rice to a serving dish and arrange the chicken pieces around the rice. The Tahdig should release very easily, break it up to pieces so everyone can help themselves to this delicious treat.
and see for yourself why the Tahdig (bottom of the pot) is the best part of any pot of Persian rice. Enjoy Baghali Polo ba Morgh with a piece of Tahdig on the side.
UPDATE: Variation: Sometimes substitute peeled Edamame Beans (green soybeans) for Fava Beans in this recipe for a delicious way to add nutritious Edamame Beans to your diet and see what you think! (Pictured below)
- 3 pounds skinless chicken drumsticks or thighs (about 6 large)
- 1 ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 1 ¼ tsp ground turmeric
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 medium yellow onion, cut in half
- 2 ½ cups cold water
- 1 large yellow onion, sliced thin and fried to golden brown (4 ounces fried onions)
- 3 TBSP vegetable oil for frying the onion
- 2 TBSP tomato paste
- 1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
- ⅛ tsp optional saffron powder
- Extra water, as needed
- FOR THE RICE- (PLEASE FOLLOW THE COMPLETE INSTRUCTIONS FOR PERSIAN STEAMED RICE)
- 2 ½ cups Basmati rice
- Salted water for boiling the rice
- 14-16 ounces frozen or fresh green fava beans
- 1 cup chopped fresh dill or ⅓ cup dried dill
- 4 TBSP vegetable oil
- 1 TBSP butter
- Lavash pieces for Tahdig
- Dash of saffron, sprinkled on top of the rice before steaming (optional)
- Add the chicken pieces, water, onion halves, turmeric, salt and pepper to a 12-inch nonstick skillet (the chicken pieces will be in a single layer). Bring the water to a boil over medium heat, skim off any foam from the top. Reduce heat to medium low, cover the skillet and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the chicken is no longer pink inside and fork tender. Discard the onion halves
- Meanwhile in another skillet fry the sliced onions in 3 TBSP of vegetable oil until golden brown. Add tomato paste and saute for another 3-5 minutes over medium low heat until aromatic. Set aside.
- Sprinkle the top of cooked chicken pieces with the optional ⅛ tsp saffron and use the back of a spoon to smear it on the surface. This will give chicken a rich saffron color as it cooks without using too much saffron; mix a few drops of the broth with saffron if needed.
- There should be about 1½ inches of broth in the skillet at this point. Add extra water if needed.
- Add the fried onion mixture to the skillet and stir to mix it with the broth. Add fresh lemon juice and bring it to a boil.
- Cover the skillet, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Turn the chicken pieces and continue to simmer covered for another 30 minutes until very tender. Serve over Baghali Polo.
- To make the Baghali Polo (Fava Bean and Dill Rice):
- Please follow the instructions for cooking the Persian Steamed Rice.
- After about 7 minutes of boiling in salt water, when the rice is firm in the center and tender on the two ends, add the fava beans to the pot. Bring the water to another boil and then immediately drain in a colander and rinse with cold water.
- Heat the oil and butter in the nonstick pot, cover the bottom of the pot with lavash or tortilla pieces.
- Add ⅓ of the cooked rice and fava bean mixture over the lavash. Sprinkle with ⅓ of the fresh or dried dill. Repeat 2 more times until you have used up all the rice mixture and dill. Sprinkle the top with the optional saffron. Cover with a kitchen towel or Damkesh and steam over medium low heat for 45 minutes to one hour, or until steam rises, the rice grains are tender, and the Tahdig is crispy and golden.
Varic thank you so much for visiting and commenting. It really is quite delicious!
Fae's Twist & Tango says
A Persian favorite beautifully presented! Both very aromatic, you have described fava bean and dill weed so perfectly, two ingredients which go well together, mixed in Persian style rice. Tahdig, of course is to die for. Chicken braised in seasoned tomato sauce is awesome too.
Dear Fae, very nice of you to visit my blog and thanks for the lovely comment!
your tahdig leaves me speechless. one day i hope to see the same from my own cooks. i must say that the amount of information and instruction you provide in your posts is 5star amazing 🙂 thank you thank you thank you for teaching us with so much care and detail.
Hello FoodGeekGraze, it is truly wonderful to hear nice comments like this; it makes all the work worthwhile. Thank you very much and you’re so welcome 🙂
hi i’m naghmeh i was searching and suddenly i found your brilliant page.by the way i wanna say i have a magazine which teaches persian language and shows iran i have a part in it about recipe of iranian food can i use your recipe and photo for my magazine?
your an incredible writer as well as chef. I have to ask do you have a published recipe book? I would buy it in a heart beat!! Thank you for these amazing recpices, I have been looking for an authentic Persian food blog. So happy I found yours!
Dear Parisa thanks so much for your uplifting words! I’m very happy you like my recipes. I have not published a recipe book, but the future of my blog may very well lead me on that path 😉 Please keep in touch and share your thoughts and comments when you try my recipes. Have a great weekend!
Dear Naghmeh, thank you for your kind words and I really appreciate you asking! I am happy that you want to post my recipe and photo in your magazine; however, I request that you give credit to persianmama.com with any photo and/or recipe with a link back to my blog post, for example: https://persianmama.com/baghali-polo-ba-morgh-chicken-fava-bean-rice/
I welcome you to my blog and good luck with your magazine.
e mail tono bedin ta baraton magalaro befrestam mersi azizam
Khahesh mikonam Naghmeh jan 🙂
Merci azizam, khosh hal misham majalatuno bebinam! E-mail man: firstname.lastname@example.org
homa jon ferestadam baraton khosh hal misham nazareto bedonam mersi
Brisa (IG patisseriesaba) says
Growing up, my mother made baghali polo with dried dill and baby lima beans which are easily found in the freezer section of the regular grocery store, and require no prep other than defrosting. So I have followed this, but recently my mother-in-law pointed out that this is not traditional, and that fava beans should be used instead. For readers who cannot access fava beans like the Sadaf brand shown in this post, I’d like to suggest that the baby lima beans, while not very traditional, are an acceptable substitute. Thank you again for wonderful recipes and instruction!
Dear Brisa, thanks for mentioning using baby lima beans in this recipe; that is what I used for all those years that I was not able to buy the fava beans that I buy from my Persian store now! They are as good a substitute as the edamame beans that I have mentioned in this post. Keeping up with our culinary traditions, though very noble, should not keep us from recreating the recipes that are so near and dear to our heart, even if it means using a different ingredient!
L. Hashemzadeh says
I am so glad that I have found your blog. I like your approach to making tahdig. It is much easier for a novice Persian cook to understand (and less nailbiting!) than some of the others. Also, the pictures on your website are beautiful and your recipes are well written. I have already tried several of your recipes and they came out great. I have a new found confidence with cooking Persian rice, and, now, I will do some creative cooking of my own. Thank you so much!!!
Welcome L. Hashemzadeh, wonderful to have you here. I love reading your comment and I’m glad to hear that my recipes have been helpful and easy to follow. Congratulations on your rice and tahdig! I remember the first time that my rice and tahdig turned out just the way I liked 🙂 Please keep in touch and write back with your other kitchen adventures. Have a terrific weekend.
سلام هما خانم هنرمند و با سليقه. هر وقت بسراغ دستور غذائى شما ميام بفكر اين ميافتم كه اگر دوباره زاده بشم كتاب دستور غذائى شما مثل كتاب إنجيل ميمونه كه كلمه به كلمه دنبال ميكنم.
نامزدى / عروسى دختر خانمتون تبريك ميگم و آرزوى خوشبختى و سلامتى پيشرفت روزانه اين خانواده جوان را از پروردگار خواهانم.
سلامتى وپيروزى روزافزون شما اميد هميشگى من است.
عيد سعيد نوروز بر شما و عزيزانتان مبارك بوده و بركت سفره گرم و عمر طولاني را از خداوند براى همگى تقاضا ميكنم.
Tera jan aziz,
سلام دوست عزیز و مهربان، سپاس فراوان از لطف شما. خیلی خوشحالم که کار من مورد پسندتونه. خواندن کلمات شیرین و دلنشین شما روزم رو شاد کرد. ممنون از ارزوهای خوبتون برای دخترم. نوروز شما هم پیشاپیش مبارک، امیدوارم سال جدید سرشار از سلامتی و شادی برای شما و خانواده گرامی باشه
Looks AMAZING!! And I’m sure tastes just as good this is one of my favourite dishes that I have learnt to cook from my Persian father.
We cook it pretty much the same except add the chicken to the rice also.
I’m really glad I have found your website so I can learn some other dishes that my dad hasn’t tought me so I can surprise him!!
Thank you Persianmama!!
Hello Victoria, welcome! I’m happy to be found 😉 You will find many delicious recipes here and please keep in touch and write me back when you try any of them. Your dad is going to love your cooking, and I will be happy to answer any questions that you might have!
I’ve been wanting to make this, but I couldn’t find frozen fava beans anywhere in Pittsburgh. Brisa’s comment about lima beans was very funny, and that’s what I used (we grow dill on our porch so that was not a problem). My mother-in-law has not yet critiqued my cooking, but I guess I should prepare myself for the inevitable. ?
Hi Allison; Oh yes, lima beans were also my go to substitute for fava beans all those years back! I’m glad you did give the recipe a try; my family always loved it, and I never heard any complaints 😉
Hope you are well. I found frozen fava beans and tried to make this more traditionally for a change. First, my package said “do not defrost before using” but they were not shelled, and it was difficult to get the shells off the frozen beans! At dinner the now-preschooler said she wants it with “real lima beans” next time. My husband likes it best with no dill, so we’ll just be over here crassly Americanizing your lovely recipes! Sorry, haha –
Hi Allison, it is great to hear from you dear friend! Hope all is well with you and your family too. Yes, I also prefer the real lima beans, haha! That is precious..
I’m sorry that the fava beans gave you such a hard time. There are two kinds of frozen fava beans, peeled and unpeeled! The one that is used in this recipe is the peeled one,’do poosteh’ in Farsi! I hope next time you’ll be able to find the peeled ones. There is nothing wrong with modifying the recipes to your family’s taste. Please take care and keep in touch 🙂
Federico DiFiore says
Wonderful recipe and clear, concise instructions!
I was able to make a vegan version of this using some extremely rich greek olive oil instead of the butter and lupin filets in place of the meat.
Much healthier than using animal products and tastes just as great!
Federico, thanks so much for writing to me! Your comment will be very useful for others who also want a vegan version. So happy you liked the recipe. Please keep in touch and let me know of your other creations.
Tracy Miller says
Is the lavash you use in this recipe cooked like bread or to more of a cracker consistency? Would a split pita work?
The closest bread to lavash is flour tortilla, which delivers a tad thicker but equally beautiful and delicious tahdig. Split pita is thicker than both; it will work but I prefer tortilla to pita.
Can’t wait to cook this. Looks scrumptious! However, please don’t cry??….I use pressure cookers frequently when making meat stews or chicken. I am always told they are delicious. Would you mind if I made the chicken thighs using the oressure cooker?
Although I agree fava beans are delicious , these do tend to cause anemia, so one has to be careful not to eat fava beans often or in great amounts.I personally try to avoid eating them.
Is it all right if I add sumac to rice?
Hi Edna; I love my pressure cooker and use it all the time, so go right ahead 😉
There is no problem with using sumac on the rice; we usually sprinkle it on the cooked rice. Thanks for your comment and have a great week!
I reference your site quite often when making dishes for my Iranian boyfriend. Tonight I made your baghali polo ba morgh to his delight. It turned out perfect! Thank you for sharing your recipes and insight, I simply love your website!
Serena it is so nice to read your comment! I’m very happy that both of you are enjoying my recipes. Please keep in touch and let me know when you try more of my recipes 🙂
It’s fava season! I made baghali polo and it was wonderful. I’ve had it with lamb shanks in restaurants so I made them too. I combined some recipes I found online (you don’t have one yet, it seems) and my wife and I were very happy with it. I salted the shanks and rubbed them with a mixture of 2T of your Meat II spice blend and 1T of your rice spice blend (both of which I always have on hand). I braised them with browned onions, carrots, orange bell peppers, garlic, tomato paste, saffron, rose water, bay leaf, thyme, orange zest, limoo omani, a little red wine to deglaze (Shiraz to be historically accurate) and beef stock. I may have a new springtime ritual.
Hi Martin! Yes it definitely is, but we love this rice a lot and prepare it throughout the year around here. It’s great to hear that my spice blends have a place on your spice rack 😉 I’m very happy that both you and your wife have enjoyed your meal and thanks for sharing your recipe; it sounds really good. Please keep in touch and have a great weekend!
I will definitely make baghali polo with frozen favas out of season, now that I see how easy it is; that is the way I’m used to it from restaurants. But the tedium of double peeling two pounds of fresh favas was well worth it while they were available. I won’t mind not peeling them off-season, I must admit!
Thanks again for all your inspiration.
It’s my pleasure Martin 🙂
Tara Vassefi says
Martin are you able to share your recipe for this lamb shank version? It sounds delicious with all these flavors but I wouldn’t know what measurements to use.
Anthony Butler says
I just made a heart portion of this recipe for myself last week and it was wonderful! The rice was so aromatic and flavorful! Thank you for posting this. I tried it at a restaurant once and I had no idea how to replicate it.
Hi Anthony; that is so good to hear and you’re very welcome! Please keep trying my other recipes and let me know how they turn out for you. Thanks for your comment 🙂
Salome Suhaib says
I spent my childhood in Iran and love the cuisine. As a child I hated veggies but baghali pulo was something I waited for whole year. Thank you for the recipe . I cannot wait to make it. Thanks to modern technology I don’t have to wait for next spring I will order fresh frozen beans from my Asian super market as I have seen them in there.
Hi Salome; I love baghali polo and I’m glad that it’s your favorite polo too! I know what you mean, I absolutely love the frozen baghali and find it a godsend, when I think how long it would take to double peel a bagful of the fresh baghali 😉 Enjoy and please keep in touch!
Hello Homa 🙂
Several times I had the opportunity to taste some of the delicious meals my Persian sister-in-law prepares. I managed to replicate my favorite dishes (Baghali Polo and Adas Polo) but sadly I was never able to create that fluffy rice – until now that I’ve found your blog!
Here in Germany fava beans are called “dicke Bohnen” which translates into “fat beans”. 😉 I buy them frozen, cook them for just a few minutes the day before and enjoy my 11yo son eagerly helping me peel them. We love to eat Baghali Polo with veal, cooked with onions, and of course Māst o Musir.
Thank you for your beautiful blog and your lovely recipes! <3
Hi Chrissie; thanks for writing to me! I’m glad to hear that you’re pleased with your rice now. It helps that you enjoy your sister-in-law’s cooking, and I hope that you’ll find more of your favorites here. I like that name; another name for it is broad beans here 😉 I’ve never tried it with veal; it sounds lovely. Please keep in touch and have a great weekend 🙂
NEGAR AMELI says
Love the step by step instructions and explanations…these chicken thighs are a winner every time…I skip the tomato paste. They serve beautifully along
with the baghali polo.
Dear Negar; thanks so much for writing to me! I’m happy that this recipe has worked for you, and I love that you’ve added your own touch!
Please keep in touch and let me know when you try other recipes 🙂
Naz Salimi says
Heavenly chicken and rice .
Naz Salimi says
Heavenly chicken and rice . Thank you .
Thanks for your comment dear Naz. So glad you like this recipe!
Karenne Salter says
I’m looking forward to trying your recipes! I was wondering I could use boneless chicken breasts instead of thighs? And if so would I change the cooking time?
Hi Karenne, Yes, you could use cubed boneless chicken breasts. However, this recipe has bone-in chicken pieces and substituting that with boneless is going to effect couple of factors in the recipe. It will cook in less time, but keep in mind that bone-in chicken naturally produces more broth, so you might also need to add more water.
Melinda Liu says
Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe. As an Asian woman with a Persian boyfriend, I tried to learn how to cook Persian cuisine. I am so happy to have found your blog.
I made this recipe last night and the chicken was very delicious but I might have made a mistake wit the measurement of the rice.
I measured the rice with regular measure cup but it ended up over flow the pot.
Do you measure with regular measuring cup or maybe other types of measuring cup? I know when I cook Asian rice, we have a rice measuring cup.
Thank you again.
Hi Melinda, welcome to my blog! It is great to hear from you and your successful Persian dinner; he must have been impressed 😉
I measure the rice with a regular measuring cup.
As for the overflowing, the starches in the rice combined with high heat and boiling water makes the rice foam up. You may reduce the heat only a little bit but will need to maintain a continuous boil.
Also, if you use a larger pot the chance of overflowing will decrease.
Please keep in touch and let me know when you try my other recipes. Take care and have a great week
farzun Malekani says
I have made your baghali polo twice now. I am about to make it for the third time today. your detailed instructions is so helpful. you don’t miss any steps. Thank you for being so incredibly thorough.
Hi Farzun, I am very happy that you like this recipe. I am also pleased that you like the instructions. My goal is to teach Persian cooking to all the food fans out there, regardless of their cooking experience!
Thanks so much for writing to me and please keep in touch 🙂
This looks delicious. I really must try it. I came here because when I visited Iran my friend’s mother used to make a chicken with dill that was so good, even now if I think about it, I can still taste it to this day. She made it all in one pot, and while it was simple, it was such a great comfort food. Would you have the recipe for that? Sadly, I can no longer contact my friend as they seemed to have moved with no forwarding address. If you know what I am talking about, and have the name of it, I would love to know, but a recipe would be even better. Thanks so much!
Dear Ana, welcome to my blog. I hope you will enjoy this recipe, it is absolutely delicious. But I’m sorry, I am not familiar with the dish that you’ve mentioned.
Please take care and keep in touch