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  • Writer's pictureFarideh Goldin

Persian Rice with Shredded Carrots

Iranians have distinct methods of preparing basmati rice for various occasions, happy occasions, such as holidays, weddings, and the birth of a child, and, for sad occasions, for the house of mourning.

In my family, the soul food for Rosh Hashanah is Havig Polo, rice with shredded carrots and kidney beans.

In Iran my mother labored to cut the carrots in exact matchstick shape. She soaked and cooked the beans in salty water. This is a simplified version of the recipe.



  • 2 C basmati rice, rinsed a few times and soaked with 1 T salt for two hours

  • 8 C water

  • 2 T salt

  • 1/4 cup neutral oil, such as Canola

  • 1 t turmeric

  • 1 bag (10 oz) shredded carrots

  • I can dark red kidney beans (15-16 oz), drained and rinsed

  • 2 T brown sugar

  • 1 large onion cubed


Bring to boil 8 C water in a large heavy or nonstick pot.

Add rice and salt and boil for about 5-10 minutes. Basmati rice is temperamental. Check the rice after 5 minutes. If it is al dente, it is ready. Drain it in a colander.

In the same pot, warm up 1/8 C oil and 1/2 t turmeric on low heat. Add the rice and arrange it in a pyramid. Create a few holes with a wooden spoon to allow steam to escape. Cover with a clean towel, wrapped around the pot cover, and let it steam for 45 minutes.

Warm up the rest of the oil and turmeric in a large pan over med heat. Add onions and cook until slightly brown and caramelized. Take them out and set them aside in a bowl.

Add carrots, beans, sugar and a dash of salt to the pot and cover, steaming (mix every few minuted with a wooden spoon) until carrots are soft—about 5 min. Mix with caramelized onions.

Turn the rice over in a large tray. The bottom should be crusty. Set it (tadig) aside on a separate plate. Gently mix in the carrot mixture with the steaming rice.

Tadig, the crispy rice from the bottom of the pot is a delicacy. Just break pieces to eat.


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