Sweet Rice with Carrots and Nuts

June 15, 2013
1 Ratings
Photo by Sara Remington
  • Serves 6 to 8
Author Notes

The name of this orange and cardamom-infused Persian rice dish is "shirin polo," which means "sweet rice" in Farsi. It's traditionally paired with chicken, so it's a great side dish with chicken kebabs or roasted chicken. Be sure to zest only the outer layer of the orange, because the white pith underneath will make the dish bitter. The mild flavor of unrefined coconut oil complements the sweetness of this rice and can make for an interesting variation on the traditional butter. (This recipe is from The New Persian Kitchen by Louisa Shafia). —Louisa Shafia

What You'll Need
  • 2 cups white basmati rice, soaked in cold water for 1 hour
  • 3 cups water
  • Sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter or unrefined coconut oil, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 cups grated carrots (about 3 large carrots)
  • 1/2 cup slivered or coarsely chopped almonds, toasted
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped, plus 1 tablespoon for garnish
  • Grated zest of 1 large orange
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron, ground and steeped in 1 tablespoon hot water
  1. Drain the rice and rinse under cold water until the water runs clear. In a stockpot, combine the water and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Add the rice, return to a boil, then turn down the heat to its lowest setting. Cover and cook for 20 min- utes. Turn off the heat and let the rice rest for 5 minutes, then dot with the butter and fluff with a fork. The rice should be dry and fluffy.
  2. While the rice cooks, heat a small skillet over medium heat and sauté the onion in the coconut oil for about 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the carrots, almonds, cin- namon, cardamom, and turmeric, and cook, stirring often, for about 10 minutes, until the carrots are tender. Add 1/2 cup pistachios, the orange zest, and the honey and cook for about 2 minutes, until heated through. Season with salt.
  3. Scoop the rice into a large bowl. Add the carrot mixture and drizzle in the saffron. Mix gently and season with salt. Garnish with the remaining 1 tablespoon pistachios.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • EmilyC
  • Louisa Shafia
    Louisa Shafia
  • Jennifer
My cookbook The New Persian Kitchen is a winner of Food52's Piglet award. I love cooking Iranian rice and hearing people crunch on the crispy tahdig from the bottom of the pot. I'm passionate about sharing the ingredients and techniques for making Persian food in my writing, cooking classes, and online store, Feast By Louisa where you can find my Persian Spice Set, Tahdig Kit, and other goodies.

5 Reviews

Jennifer July 16, 2015
Thank you so much, I will look for that tomorrow. I love your cookbook, it is very inspiring, and more importantly makes me want to try the recipes (which I'm starting to do). My brother-in-law requested a copy of the Sweet Rice after eating it last night. Now to see if Anchorage has dried limes and barberries. One more question, I am one of the unfortunate who cannot abide beets, and I've tried every which way, is there a good substitute for them for the Sweet and Smokey Beet Burger?
Louisa S. July 16, 2015
Try making them with beets, you will be shocked at how good they taste - maybe because you can barely taste the beets?? You could also substitute another root vegetable like carrots or sweet potatoes. Have fun foraging for ingredients in Anchorage, a place I've always wanted to visit!
Jennifer July 16, 2015
Wonderful recipe! I made it along side grilled eggplant and chicken, it was delicious! The only issue I had was the quality of my basmati rice wasn't worthy of this dish. Is there a brand or perhaps more importantly a country or area of the country where the basmati is grown that you would recommend?
Louisa S. July 16, 2015
Hi Jennifer, so glad to hear you enjoyed this recipe. The best rice for Persian dishes is basmati rice, all the way. If you can get your hands on imported Indian basmati rice, that's the best choice, as close as you can get to what's used in Iran.
EmilyC June 24, 2013
Delicious! Made it last night for dinner with pan-roasted cod that I seasoned with sumac. My house smelled heavenly while I was sauteing the carrots, nuts and spices. I'll definitely make this again!