Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 8 minutes (boil rice) and 15-20 minutes (cook rice with dill)
Serves: 6 to 8

Here’s my favorite Persian-inspired rice recipe – I love it because of the rich aroma emanating from the dill weed as it cooks. The fava beans and saffron add such rich flavors to this beautiful side dish!

2 cups basmati rice (rinsed 3 to 4 times in cold water & drained)
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon Persian saffron threads
2 cups frozen fava beans (also called, broad beans)
2 cups chopped fresh dill weed
4 tablespoons vegetable oil (preferably safflower or sunflower oil)

Directions for Boiling Rice & Fava Beans:

1. Place the washed and drained rice in an 8-cup saucepot; add 6 cups cold water.

2. Cover the saucepot and bring rice to a boil; uncover and add 2 teaspoons salt.

3. Cook the rice for 6 minutes.

4. After 6 minutes, taste the rice (it should be al dente or crunchy-tender. If it’s still too hard, cook rice for 1 to 2 more minutes.

5. Using a large, fine-meshed colander, drain the rice.

6. Rinse the rice once under cold water; set the rice in colander over a bowl to drain & cool.

Assembling the Rice with Dill & Fava Beans:

1. Meanwhile, in a small saucepot or kettle, boil 1 cup of water.

2. Transfer boiled water to a pyrex or stainless steel bowl & mix with saffron threads.

3. Set water & saffron aside; the water will look dark yellow or orange.

4. When water has turned dark yellow or orange from the saffron, strain the water into a separate Pyrex or stainless steel bowl.

5. Gently transfer about 1 cup of the cooked & drained rice to the bowl with saffron water; set aside.

6. In a 12-inch, nonstick skillet, add 1/4 cup vegetable oil.

7. Gently spread about 1/3 of the boiled rice evenly over oil at bottom of skillet.

8. Follow with 1/2 of amount of fava beans and 1/2 of amount of chopped dill weed.

9. Continue assembling 1/3 layer of rice, followed by remaining fava beans and dill weed, as above.

10. The rice mound should end with the remaining 1/3 of white rice at the top.

11. Drain the saffron rice and scatter it evenly over the white rice at top of mound.

Finishing the Dill & Fava Rice:

1. Cover the rice in skillet and cook on low heat for 15 minutes.

2. After 15 minutes, using a flat spatula, check bottom of rice. If it is does not look golden brown yet, cook rice on medium-low heat for an additional 5 minutes.

3. Using the spatula, check bottom of rice once more – it should be golden brown.

4. Using a large ladle, scoop rice onto a serving platter; set crispy rice bottom separately on another platter.

5. Serve Dill & Fava Rice immediately as a side dish to meat, poultry, fish or as part of a vegetarian feast!
Text & Photograph ©2023 Nancy DeLucia Real