Sabzi Polo ba Mahi (Herbed Rice and Fish)

The holidays are falling just about on top of each other this year. Persian New Year was March 21 and Passover starts March 25.  Oy! Sabzi Polo ba Mahi, a special herbed rice with fried fish, is the traditional dish for Persian New Year.

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I have been searching for a recipe that I really like and have been getting closer each year. The problem I have is that I do not like dill, and most of the recipes rely heavily on dill, finding the balance of including it enough but not too much has been a challenge.  So each year it requires some improvisation.  This year I seem to have gotten it just right- fresh parsley and scallions and dried dill.

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For the last few years we have been also doing Persian food for our Seder.  This year it will be Chicken Fesenjoon, along with matzoh ball soup, gefilte fish, pickles, kugels and homemade chocolate covered matzot (look for that post in a couple of days).

Sabzi Polo ba Mahi

3 cups basmati rice

2 bunches parsley

2 bunches scallions

1/8 cup dried dill

1 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp olive oil

Tilapia, enough to serve 4 – 6 people

1/2 cup flour

Salt (I used black sea salt) and freshly ground pepper

1 tsp garlic powder

Lemon juice



Put the rice in a large bowl and rinse 2 or 3 times.  Soak in salted water for at least an hour.  Drain.

Wash and dry the parsley and scallions. Use a salad spinner, it will make the chopping go much easier.

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Add the scallions and parsley to the food processor fitted with the chopping blade. Process until well chopped.  Add the dill.

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To make the rice, fill a pot with salted water.  Add the drained rice and greens.  Bring the uncovered pot to a boil, about 20 minutes – you want to cook the rice until it still has a bit of a bite to it.  Drain into a strainer.

Put the pot back over medium-high heat, put in 1 Tbsp butter and a 1/4 cup of water.  Once the butter has melted, swirl the pan around, then return the rice and greens to the pot.  Press down.

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Cover with a towel and lid (or use a padded lid cover).

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Cook for about 5 minutes, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook another 30-40 minutes.  You want a nice layer of tadigh (crispy rice crust on the bottom of the pan) to form.


Over high heat, heat olive oil in a non-stick or cast iron skillet.

Pour flour into a shallow bowl, mix in salt, pepper and garlic powder.

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Dip the tilapia into the flour mixture and coat both sides.

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Cook jus a couple of minutes on each side until crisp and cooked through (Tilapia cooks very quickly).

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Serve the rice topped with fish and tadigh.  Sprinkle with lemon juice.  Enjoy!

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Serves 4 – 6.


8 Comments Add yours

  1. Your meal sounds wonderful, especially the tilapia!


  2. I looooooove sabzi polo ba maaahi, Persian cuisine is my fave. have you tried fesenjoun?


    1. I love fesenjoon! I will be making it tomorrow, in fact. Check out my post on how to make it in the slow cooker


Let me know what you think of this post, and if you try the recipe, please let me know how it was and any suggestions you have. Thanks, Andrea

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