Reshteh Polow is one of the two main dishes that are traditionally served in the evening of the Persian new year (Norooz). It is believed that by eating Reshte Polow on new year, you can grab hold of your destiny for the coming year. This dish is originally from Azerbaijan province of Iran and is quite easy to cook.
You can find reshteh noodles or toasted noodles at most Middle Eastern markets. It is a thin, flat pasta that kind of resembles cappellini or fettuccine.
Wash the rice with water a few times. Soak in 4 cups of water, add 2 tablespoons of salt and set aside for a couple of hours.
In a large non-stick pot bring 5 cups of water to a boil on high heat. Drain the soaked rice and gently pour into the pot. Bring the water back to a boil on high heat.
Add the toasted noodles and boil them together for about 10 minutes.
Test if the rice is ready. Rice should be firm inside and soft on the outside. The noodles should also be somehow soft yet a little firm. Then drain the rice and noodles in a colander and rinse with cool water.
Put the pot back on the stove and add 2 tbsp of oil. Slice the potatoes and lay them in the base of the pot. Potatoes will protect the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot, but also create a delicious edible crust of rice and potato.
Place the rice into the pot, building it into a pyramid shape. Add 2 tablespoon saffron and 2-3 tablespoon oil or butter on top of the rice. cover the lid and steam the rice on low heat for 40 minutes.
If you want to add barberries, heat two tablespoon of oil in a frying pan. Wash barberries and add them to the pan. Add 1 tablespoon sugar and one tablespoon saffron and give it a nice stir so that the barberries are coated with oil and sugar. This should not take more than one or two minute. Note: Keep the heat low because barberries burn easily.
Serve on a platter and garnish with the saffron rice, barberries and potato crust on top.