Rice (pole goes chelo)
Iranians love good rice and consume it in large quantities; accompanies dishes based on meat, fish, vegetables and legumes, is present in many soups and desserts. Over the centuries, its preparation has led to very high peaks of refinement and perfectionism.
Darius the Great is said to have introduced rice cultivation in ancient Persia; the first crops of this cereal concerned the provinces overlooking the Caspian Sea, where rice became an integral part of the inhabitants' diet, while in the rest of Iran the use of bread was more widespread. Over the centuries, its consumption expanded more and more, spreading throughout the country, and its cultivation became increasingly sophisticated.
Various types of rice were and are cultivated in Iran, some also very renowned for their excellent characteristics, such as dom siah, which has a dark-colored part of the grain, the Darbari of the imperial courts, the amber bu with a particular amber fragrance, the shekari, particularly sweet. The smoked rice, dudi, is definitely worth trying, paired with fish dishes. The most easily available quality in Italy with which to carry out the recipes we propose is the Indian Basmati, the best you can use although among the most expensive, as it is best suited for its characteristics of flavor, aroma and consistency for use in the kitchen. Iranian: before cooking, wash it and let it rest in warm salted water for a few hours. Alternatively, Thai rice or long grain parboiled rice, of which Uncle Ben's is the best known brand, also have a good yield. The choice and preparation of rice are fundamental steps for the success of a good dish and it is not worth saving in its purchase. At least the first few times, don't allow yourself to be distracted, even if it is above all the experience that will guarantee you the best results over time.
In Iranian cuisine, rice has three different names depending on the way it is prepared. It is called a polo if it is cooked together with the ingredients that make up the dish; polo is therefore called any rice dish, previously boiled for a few minutes, then drained very al dente and placed in a pan with a high-layered edge alternately with meat, chicken, vegetables, legumes or cereals cooked separately.
The chelo rice is the white one, cooked separately with steam, and proposed separately from the dishes; it is preferably served with stews (khoresh) and grilled meat (kabab).
The white rice called katè is instead cooked in water and is not drained; the latter method is faster than the first two and is the preferred method in the Gilan region.