This aromatic and healthy dish is the traditional Persian New Year meal. The green color from all the hurbs is to say, spring has sprung.
Traditionally, this dish is served with white fish. I choose to use Petrale sole and steam it on top of the rice. You can really substitute for any type of fish that you fancy cooked in any way you know best. You could grilled, steamed, baked, fried, deep-fried, smoked, or poached and serve it over this delicious rice.
Herb Rice with Fish
- Basmati rice – 2 cups
- 2 lbs Fish cleaned and fillet
- 2 bunches of green onion
- 2 bunches of dill
- 2 bunches of parsley
- One bunch of cilantro (optional)
- 4 cloves of garlic
- Salt and pepper
Wash and chop all the herbs. You can use a food processor to chop all of the herbs including the garlic. I personally process the stems in with the leaves but that’s your choice. Mix all the herbs and garlic together and put it aside.
Add salt and pepper to the fish and set it aside.
Place your rice in a large bowl. Wash rice a few times until the water looks clear. This is a very important step to remove the starch from the rice. Bring salted water to a boil, place the rice in the boiling water and cook for about 5 to 10 minutes (this is according to the type of the rice you use). Make sure you stir the rice twice with a wooden spoon to loosen any grains that may have stuck to the bottom. Taste your rice. The grains should be soft on the outside but still firm in the center. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop additional cooking. Toss rice gently in colander.
Mixed Herb Rice with Fish
Return the saucepan to the heat and add couple of tbsp olive oil with 2 tbsp of water till you hear sizzling sound. Pile up the rice and herbs on top in the shape of a pyramid. This shape leaves room for the rice to expand and enlarge. You want to lightly “fluff” the herbs into the rice to incorporate as you go along.
Poke one or two holes in the rice pyramid with the handle of a wooden spatula. This is done for steaming purposes. Add 2-3 tbsp of olive oil on top. Place the fish fillet on top of the rice. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 minutes unit rice is steaming, then reduce the heat to medium low and place a clean dish towel or 2 layers of paper towels over the pot and cover firmly with the lid to prevent steam from escaping. Cook for 30-40 minutes.
Carefully remove the fish and put it in a plate. Using one spatula full of rice at a time, place the rice on a serving platter without disturbing the crust. Finally, you remove the crusty bottom which is called tahdig and place it in a separate smaller plate.
Parsley: is rich in anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber which helps control blood cholesterol levels, prevents constipation, protects body from free radicals mediated injury and from cancers. Parsleyhas been rated as one of the plant source with highest anti-oxidant activities.
Dill: contains many anti-oxidants, vitamins like niacin, pyridoxine etc, and dietary fibers which help to control blood cholesterol levels. Dill is known for it’s soothing effect on the stomach and digestive system.
Green Onion: are a good source of Thiamin, Riboflavin, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper, and a great source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Potassium and Manganese. Green onion can regulate immune system function and is also very effective in the prevention of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases.
Cilantro: is rich in anti-oxidants and dietary fiber which help reduce LDL or “bad cholesterol” while increasing HDL or “good cholesterol” levels. The herb is a good source of minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. The National Cancer Institute has determined that cilantro is among the group of herbs with anti-cancer properties.
Garlic: Garlic has many benefits. It is very helpful in the digestion process and reduces the cholestrol level in the body. Garlic also control the blood pressure and the sugar, and it is very useful for the treatment of stomach problem and colon cancer.
Rice:Because of high carbohydrates, rice is often considered an unhealthy food. However, rice does contain vitamins and minerals such as thiamine, niacin, iron, riboflavin, vitamin D, calcium, and fiber. It is low in fat and can help fill you up as part of a healthy diet. If you are dieting, just watch your overall intake.
Fish: in general most fish are low in fat and cholesterol and a good source of protein, which makes them a good choice for a healthy diet. All fish are a good source of B vitamins and oil-rich fish are a good source of vitamins A and D. Many fish also provide a good source for calcium. Some types of fish are very low in fat, the fattier fish types contain healthy essential fatty acids (omega-3) that are actually very good for the body. White fish types are rich in vitamin B12 and oily fish are rich in vitamins A, B12 and D.