Baghali Polow ba Mahiche is one of the most popular dishes in Iran, and is usually served at parties such as wedding ceremonies. The combination of rice with dills and broad beans is called Baghali Polow, and the fork tender lamb shanks which is served beside the rice is called Mahiche. These two parts served together make a sublime taste.
The origin of this food dates back to Safavid dynasty that ruled Iran from 1501 to 1722, and the kings were served with rice and lamb shanks. Nowadays it is a frequent dish among Iranian families, but still served and treated like a king’s food.
For this recipe I suggest using lamb, but you can use lamb neck or ribs instead of shanks depending on your taste. The most important thing is that the meat should have bones with it. Yes! it does have an effect on the taste of the meat. Also, I suggest using fresh broad beans as it really counts for having a fresh and delicious rice.
In a large bowl, rinse rice several times until the water runs clear. Fill bowl with lukewarm water again and add 2 tablespoon of salt. Allow rice to soak for about 20 minutes.
Heat 2 tablespoon of oil in a pot over medium heat and saute the chopped onions until soft.
Add the lamb shanks to the pot and stir for 3-4 minutes until meat changes color.
Add salt and turmeric to the pot and mix well.
Add 3 tablespoon saffron water to the pot. Keep some of the saffron for rice topping.
Pour 4 cups of water over the lamb shanks or enough water to cover half of the pot's depth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover the lid and let it simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours.
Meanwhile, in another pot add water until half of its depth and bring it to a boil. Then add the broad beans and let it boil for some seconds only.
Drain the rice and add it to boiling water. After 5-7 minutes of boiling test to see if the rice is ready. Rice should be hard in the center and soft on the outside. Also another way to see if it's ready to drain is that you will see the rice gains starting to come to the surface of the water.
Drain the rice using a colander and add chopped dills to the rice and mix . Be careful to not break the rice grains.
Return the pot and heat 3 tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium heat. Place the rice and herb mixture in the pot in a pyramid shape.
Add some butter or vegetable oil and 4 tablespoon of water on top of the rice.
Reduce heat and cover the lid. Allow it to steam for 45 minutes.
Using a fork test if the lamb shanks are cooked and tender. If it is cooked but the sauce is still watery, remove the lid from the pot and allow it to boil to reduce the water. If it's too dry adjust water and allow it to cook some more minutes.
When rice is ready, take a couple of spoons out of the pot and into a mixing bowl. Add the saffron mixture to it and give it a mix until rice turn from white to yellow.
Now spoon the rice on a serving platter, top it with saffron rice and place the lamb shanks beside it with some fresh lime. Serve the meat sauce in a separate bowl or simply pour it over the meat and rice.