Aromatic Baghali Polo ba Mahiche: Rice with Dill and Fava Beans with Lamb Shanks


Baghali Polo ba Mahiche, a classic Persian dish, combines aromatic basmati rice with dill and fava beans, served alongside succulent, slow-cooked lamb shanks. This dish is a celebration of flavors and textures, perfect for a festive occasion or a special family meal. The tender lamb shanks, infused with saffron and spices, complement the fragrant, herbaceous rice, creating a culinary experience that is both comforting and elegant.

Aromatic Baghali Polo ba Mahiche: Rice with Dill and Fava Beans with Lamb Shanks

Preparation and Cooking Times

  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours 45 minutes

Servings and Serving Size

  • Servings: 6
  • Serving Size: 1 lamb shank with rice (approximately 350g)

Nutritional Information (per serving)

  • Calories: 600 kcal
  • Protein: 35g
  • Carbohydrates: 60g
  • Fat: 25g
  • Fiber: 6g
  • Sugar: 3g
  • Sodium: 500mg


  • For the Lamb Shanks:
    • 6 lamb shanks
    • 2 large onions, finely chopped
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 cups (480ml) beef broth
    • 1/2 cup (120ml) brewed saffron (a pinch of saffron threads steeped in hot water)
    • 1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
    • 1 tsp turmeric
    • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
    • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • For the Rice:
    • 3 cups (600g) basmati rice
    • 2 cups (300g) fresh or frozen fava beans
    • 1 cup (60g) fresh dill, finely chopped
    • 1/4 cup (60ml) brewed saffron
    • 1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil
    • 1 tsp salt

Method of Preparation

  1. In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and sauté until golden brown.
  2. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute.
  3. Season the lamb shanks with salt, pepper, turmeric, cumin, and cinnamon. Add them to the pot and brown on all sides.
  4. Pour in the beef broth and brewed saffron. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for about 2.5 to 3 hours, until the lamb is tender and falls off the bone.
  5. Rinse the basmati rice under cold water until the water runs clear.
  6. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the rice, and cook for about 6-8 minutes until it is partially cooked (al dente). Drain and set aside.
  7. In a separate pot, bring water to a boil, add the fava beans, and cook for 3-4 minutes until tender. Drain and remove the skins if necessary.
  8. In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium heat.
  9. Mix the partially cooked rice with the dill, fava beans, and brewed saffron.
  10. Layer the rice mixture in the pot, creating a mound in the center.
  11. Drizzle the remaining oil over the top and wrap the lid of the pot with a clean kitchen towel. Cover tightly and cook on low heat for about 45 minutes, allowing the rice to steam and develop a crispy crust (tahdig).
  12. Carefully invert the rice onto a serving platter to reveal the crispy tahdig.
  13. Serve the lamb shanks alongside the fragrant dill and fava bean rice.

Tips for Culinary Success

  • Ensure the lamb shanks are fully submerged in the broth for even cooking.
  • For a richer flavor, marinate the lamb shanks in the spices and saffron overnight.
  • Make sure to cook the rice just until al dente to prevent it from becoming mushy during the steaming process.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I use dried dill instead of fresh dill?

  • Yes, but fresh dill provides a more vibrant flavor. If using dried dill, use about one-third of the amount.

How do I store and reheat leftovers?

  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven to maintain the texture of the tahdig.

Can I make this dish vegetarian?

  • Yes, you can omit the lamb shanks and serve the dill and fava bean rice with roasted vegetables or a plant-based protein.

Experience the rich flavors and textures of Aromatic Baghali Polo ba Mahiche, a Persian classic that brings together tender lamb shanks and fragrant dill rice. Perfect for a celebration or a special family meal, this dish promises to delight your senses with every bite. Enjoy the exquisite combination of saffron-infused lamb and herbaceous rice, and create lasting culinary memories.