Nowruz recipe: How to make sabzi polo (herbed rice) for Persian New Year 2021

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      With another momentous occasion about to arrive, home cooks have yet another opportunity to make celebratory dishes.

      Nowruz, which is also known as Iranian or Persian New Year, is this Saturday (March 20).

      Soha Lavin, founder of CountDown Events Planning and Design and Crème de la Crème Grand Wedding Showcase, is generously sharing her recipe for sabzi polo (herbed rice).

      Soha Lavin
      Tamiz Photography

      “Nowruz, which translates to new day, is celebrated on the first day of spring,” Lavin explains. “It is the Persian New Year based on the solar calendar and although this celebration dates back to the times of Persian Empire. It is celebrated amongst millions of people in several cultures today.”

      Lavin reminisces fondly about past celebrations of Nowruz.

      “Growing up this celebration was always centered around love, family, nature, and—of course—lots of food,” she says. “My mom made sure that we were spoiled with her amazing dishes. She knew how to make the best food and prepared it all from memory with recipes passed down from many generations in our family. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to learn how to cook from her.”

      Soha Lavin
      Hayley Alice Photo

      Now as a mother herself, Lavin carries on her familial culinary traditions.

      “There are many special dishes that are prepared to mark the new year but sabzi polo was always the traditional dish in our home for Nowruz. Sabzi polo is a delicious, aromatic herbed rice that can pair with many other dishes. I look forward to making it for my little family this year.”

      Lavin sends her best wishes to everyone for the new year.

      “Enjoy! Have a joyous Nowruz! Eideh Nowruz mobarak!

      Ingredients for sabzi polo (herbed rice)
      Jamie-Lee Fuoco

      Sabzi polo (herbed rice)


      2 cups basmati rice

      1 cup chopped fresh dill

      ½ cup finely sliced chives

      ½ cup packed chopped parsley

      3 to 4 cloves of garlic, peeled

      half of a potato, sliced

      a pinch of salt

      2 tablespoons of olive oil

      a dash of brewed saffron to garnish


      Wash and finely chop the herbs. Pat dry.

      Wash rice and soak in salted water for one hour. This will help the grain grow.

      In a non-stick heavy pot, bring water to a boil.

      Drain the rice and add to the boiling water, let it boil on medium heat for approximately eight minutes.

      Using a strainer drain the rice and rinse with cold water.

      Rinse and dry the pot. Place the pot back on the stove over medium heat. Add the olive oil, add sliced potatoes, and let it cook for three minutes. Add the rice and layer evenly with the herbs.

      Add the cloves of garlic throughout the rice and herb mixture. Once the rice starts steaming, sprinkle the brewed saffron over the rice, and add two tablespoons of oil and ¼ cup of water.

      Reduce heat to medium-low, cover the lid with a towel, and cook for about 45 minutes.

      Serve while hot with the crunchy potatoes laid out on top.

      Sabzi polo
      Jamie-Lee Fuoco
      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook.