Rob Polo (Pomegranate Paste and Rice Pilaf)
It is a delicious and simple Iranian food originally from Shiraz. Rob Polo is made of rice, pomegranate paste, walnut, raisins, sugar and onion. This dish is meat free and it is a good choice for vegetarians; plus, pomegranate paste and walnut have increased the nutritional value. The Shirazis serve Rob Polo with Shirazi Salad. It is one of the main dishes of Fars province which has a simple and easy preparing.
By traveling to Fars province after you have eaten enough of its delicious meals; you can start an exciting shopping by knowing Fars handicrafts and its famous souvenirs.
In order to prepare Shirazi Rob Polo, first soak rice for 30 minutes to 2 hours, then add chicken, a cinnamon stick, 2 cups of water, 1 onion and a little turmeric in a proper pot.
In this step, put the pot on medium heat till the chicken cooks completely, then torn the chicken and put it away. Dice or julienne the remaining onion.
Heat the onion with some oil in a suitable pan till it gets quite light, and then add some spices and continue heating till they mix evenly. After that add chopped walnut to the pan.
After heating the walnut for a bit, add the pomegranate paste and sauté well till it turns into a pretty color, then add some raisin along with sugar and stir a bit, so that the raisin gets shiny.
In this step, remove from the heat and pour water up to half of a proper pot and put it on high heat to make the water boil faster, then add 1 tablespoon salt and 1 tablespoon oil to the boiling water.
In this step, add soaked rice to the boiling water and give it 5 to 10 minutes for the initial cooking and to become soft. When the rice gets soft but hard at the middle, it has to be drained.
In this stage, put the intended pot over the heat and add 2 tablespoons oil, then put sliced potatoes or Lavash bread (thin bread) for the tahdig of Rob Polo.
In this stage, cover the tahdig with some rice, then add some of the pomegranate paste and torn chicken mixture on the rice. Continue the same order to fill the pot and then pour 2 tablespoons of oil over the rice.
Put the pot lid and heat it to make some steam, then medium the heat and let the rice steam for an hour, then mix the stuff in the pot.
Mixing Rob Polo makes it look more beautiful and even when serving it into a dish. If you would like you can make a little saffron rice and use it along with chicken to garnish Rob Polo.
If you are using sweet pomegranate paste, you can omit sugar.