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Persian Sabzi Polo Recipe (Green Herb Rice)

Sabzi Polo is a beloved and traditional Persian dish made with basmati rice and mixed herbs that is often served on special occasions. This fragrant and flavourful rice dish has a rich cultural significance in Persian cuisine and is typically served alongside a variety of main dishes.

One of the most popular ways to serve Sabzi Polo is with fish during Nowruz, the Persian New Year, which occurs on the first day of spring. Fish is a symbolic dish during Nowruz, representing life and the beginning of a new year. The herb mixture in Sabzi Polo also has symbolic significance during this time, as it represents the arrival of spring and the renewal of nature.

The herbs used in Sabzi Polo, such as parsley, coriander, chives, and dill, are commonly found in the spring and have a fresh and fragrant quality that adds depth and complexity to the dish. They also provide a range of health benefits, including being high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, making Sabzi Polo not only delicious but nutritious as well.

Overall, Sabzi Polo is a quintessential Persian dish that holds deep cultural significance and is typically served on special occasions. During Nowruz, it is often served with fish, representing new beginnings and the renewal of life, while the herbs in the dish symbolize the arrival of spring and the renewal of nature.

Basic Ingredients for Sabzi Polo

Sabzi Polo:

Basmati Rice: Is a type of long-grain rice known for its distinct nutty flavour, fluffy texture, and aroma. It is commonly used in Persian and Indian cuisine and is a staple in many households.

Mixed Herbs: A combination of fresh herbs, including parsley, coriander, chives, and dill. These herbs provide a fragrant and aromatic quality to the dish and also offer a range of health benefits.

Garlic: A pungent herb with a distinct flavour that is commonly used in cooking. It adds depth and richness to the dish and is known for its antibacterial properties.

Saffron Powder: A spice derived from the saffron crocus flower that adds a distinct flavour and a beautiful golden colour to the dish. It is one of the most expensive spices in the world and is highly prized in Persian cuisine for its unique flavour and aroma.

Serving tips

  • Traditionally served with fish during the Persian New Year celebration known as Nowruz. Grilled, fried or baked fish are all popular options to accompany the flavourful and fragrant rice.
  • Alongside the rice, kookoo sabzi is often served – a delectable herb frittata prepared with fresh herbs, eggs, and a variety of spices. This combination of Sabzi Polo and kookoo sabzi creates a mouthwatering and satisfying meal that is cherished by many during this festive occasion.

storage tips

  • Store leftover Sabzi Polo in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It can be stored for up to 3-4 days.
  • To reheat Sabzi Polo, sprinkle a little bit of water over the rice, cover it with a lid or damp paper towel, and microwave for a few minutes until heated through. Alternatively, you can heat it in a pan with a little bit of oil or butter.
  • If you want to freeze Sabzi Polo, allow it to cool completely before placing it in an airtight container or freezer bag. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.
  • When reheating frozen Sabzi Polo, allow it to thaw completely in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

Sabzi Polo (Full Recipe)

Sabzi Polo

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour


  • 2 cups fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 2 cups fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 cups fresh chives, finely chopped
  • 2 cups fresh or dried dill, finely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh green onions, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 4 cups basmati rice
  • salt
  • vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup yogurt
  • a pinch of ground saffron


  • Wash and rinse rice until the water is longer cloudy.  Soak rice with ½ cup of salt in cold water for about 60 minutes. Drain but don’t rinse the rice. Make sure that you don’t use your hand or a utensil during this process. Basmati rice is very delicate and can easily break.
  • In large bowl mix all the fresh herbs and garlic together.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add the rice and about a ¼ cup of vegetable oil; cook for about 8 to 10 minutes, until the rice is parboiled. Drain the rice in a colander and rinse with cold water.
  • Wash and dry the pot. On medium to high heat melt the butter in the pot.  Add one cup of cooked rice, yoghurt and a pinch of saffron powder; mix ingredient together and spread mixture on the base of the pot.
  • Begin to layer the pot with one-third of the parboiled rice, followed by a layer of half of the mixed fresh herbs and dry dill. Repeat the steps with another layer of one-third the par-boiled rice and the rest of the fresh herb and dry dill. Final layer should be the balance of the parboiled rice. Make three holes in the layers of the rice with the handle of a spatula or wooden spoon.
  • In a small cup mix a quarter cup of hot water with 2 tablespoons of oil and a pinch of saffron.  Once the rice starts to steam slowly sprinkle the mixture of the rice, then reduce the heat to low, wrap the pot lid with a towel (this absorb all the excess condensed liquid and allows the rice to become fluffy), and cook for about 45 to 50 minutes.
  • Serve with salmon and kookoo sabzi.

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