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.
It is said that Darius the Great introduced rice cultivation in ancient Persia; the first crops of this cereal interested the provinces facing 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 spread more and more, spreading throughout the country, and its cultivation became increasingly sophisticated.
In Iran there were and are cultivated different species of rice, some also very famous for their excellent characteristics, such as dom siah, which has part of the dark-colored grain, the Darbari of the imperial courts, the amber bu with a particular amber fragrance, the shekari, particularly sweet. Smoked rice, dudi, is certainly worth trying, paired with fish dishes. The most readily available quality in Italy with which to make the recipes that we propose is the basmati Indian, the best that you can use although among the most expensive, because it is best suited for its characteristics of taste, aroma and consistency in use in the kitchen Iranian: before cooking it, wash it and let it rest in warm salted water for a few hours. Alternatively, Thai rice or long-grain parboiled, of which Uncle Ben's is the best known brand, also performs well. 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, do not allow yourself distractions, even if it is above all the experience that over time will guarantee you the best results.
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.