Sweet Rice with Carrots and Nuts (Shirin Polo)

(Recipe adapted from The New Persian Kitchen, by Louisa Shafia)


2 c. white basmati rice, soaked in cold water for 1 hour

3 c. water

Coarse kosher salt, to taste


5 tbsp. unrefined coconut oil, divided, at room temperature

1 large yellow onion, peeled, finely diced

4 large carrots, trimmed, rinsed, grated

1/2 c. slivered or coarsely chopped almonds, toasted

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ground cardamom

1/4 tsp. ground turmeric

1/2 c. unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped, plus 1 tablespoon for garnish

Grated zest of 1 large orange

1/4 c. honey

1/2 tsp. saffron, ground and steeped in 1 tablespoon hot water

1 scallion (green onion), trimmed and thinly sliced, for garnish 


Drain rice and rinse under cold water until the water runs clear; reserve.

Combine water and a pinch of salt in a large soup pot; bring to a boil. Add reserved rice and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover pan, and cook for about 20 minutes, or until rice is tender. Remove pan from heat and leave covered for 5 minutes.

Add 2 tbsp. of coconut oil to the rice and use a fork to incorporate oil and fluff rice. (Recipe can be prepared to this point, one day in advance.)

While the rice cooks, melt 3 tbsp. coconut oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add carrots, almonds, cinnamon, cardamom, and turmeric, and cook, stirring often, for about 10 minutes, until the carrots are just tender.

Stir in 1/2 c. pistachios, the orange zest, and honey; cook until everything is heated through. Season with salt, to taste; set aside.

Scoop rice into a large serving bowl. Add the carrot mixture and drizzle in the saffron. Mix gently and season with salt. Garnish with the remaining 1 tbsp. pistachios and scallion slices.

Makes 6-8 servings.