Monday, 15 March 2021

Mahi Polo - Persian fish and rice.

 Mahi Polo

Persian new year is a much awaited time of the year. Advent of spring - better weather for most in the Northern Hemisphere and beautiful flowers to smell and admire.

Growing up Navroze in Karachi meant a set of new clothes, a holiday from school, a visit to the fire temple and then to visit the elders of the family. We got to eat sweets all day, got a parika from grandparents and loving aunts - a bit of cash - (always with shiny new crisp notes straight out from the bank) stuffed in a white envelope inscribed with a red pen. Good wishes for the year written to us with our names on it. It was never meant to be bundles of money but something to go out and treat ourselves with. 

While we ate traditional food for lunch as a family, we generally ate out at dinner. As years went by every year I learn more about Navroze - our ancient traditions, heritage and culture that we knew very little about. My recent interest in researching commonalities between Persian and Parsi food I find that one of the traditional foods Iranians eat over Navroze is a Mahi Polo - rice and fish. 

Here I have shared my version of something I prepared for my mother this afternoon. I enjoyed it very much. I think she did too.

Serves 4

6 pieces of fillet of fish - Tilapia
Marinated in 
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp saffron
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp grapeseed oil to fry the fish

Boil a cup of rice with salt.
Drain and add a generous nob of salted butter and a tablespoon of fresh chopped Dill. 

In a deep skillet heat the oil and fry the fish- turning it once. 
Spread the rice all over. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn the stove off. Let it rest for a few minutes and serve. 

Cooking your rice in broth, stock or homemade buttermilk - chaas adds to the flavour.

While this dish is served 'dry' it may be a good idea to serve it with raita or aab doogh Khiar.  

Photo courtesy Niloufer Mavalvala

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