Reshteh Polo - The Persian Pilaf -Persian Rice with Noodles

This month in Mena's Cooking Club, I am travelling to Persia ( Iran) our host Sanam of My Persian Kitchen choose this recipe for the savory.

Reshteh is a  Persian word for thread or string. Traditionally for this recipe the noodles used would be homemade. Reshteh was the only word used to denote noodles in Arab cookbooks of the 13th and 14th centuries. Special symbolism is given to dishes that contain noodles when a decision of importance or change is to occur; the noodles or "reins" of one's life are to be taken in hand. A traditional dish in Iran is reshteh polow or pilaf, which is served during the Persian new year with the noodles representing the threads of life and family intertwined. 

The reshteh used in the Iranian cuisine is actually a thicker type of noodle, used in reshteh polow and also a type of ash, called Ash Reshteh

Reshteh Polow, is a Persian delicacy, generally cooked for Nawroz, the Persian New Year. Depending on the dialect, Reshteh Polo can be spelled a few different ways. Polo can be spelled polou or polow.  You should, try and prepare this dish at least once. I am sure you would be happy that you did it.

Here, for this recipe, after going through many recipes and after careful thinking just gave it a slight change to suit my taste.  This preparation  is a lengthy process, but the effort is worth it. This will serve 3 persons for a main course.

1 Cup Long grain Basmati rice
50 Grams Spaghetti
300 Grams Mutton  - cut into chunks
1 Onion - finely chopped
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon powder
1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric powder
1/2 Teaspoon Coriander powder
1/2 Teaspoon Cumin powder
1 Teaspoon Orange Peel
2 Sticks of Cinnamon
8 Peppercorns
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
4 Large Dates
1 Tablespoon Raisins
1/4 cup Warm water
Pinch Saffron
3 Tablespoons Oil 
2 Tablespoons Butter 
1/4 Cup Curds


 Rinse the rice three times in fresh water to remove the excess starch.  Add water to cover by about 1 inch and set aside to soak for at least 15 minutes.

In a pan add the oil and heat over medium flame. Break the spaghetti  into pieces about 3 inches long. Toss them into the oil and saute, stirring constantly, until lightly toasted. Remove and set aside.

In the same pan add little oil if needed, and then stir in the chunks of meat and brown on all sides on high flame (so that the juices of the meat are sealed). Remove to a plate and set aside.
In the same pan add the onions,cinnamon sticks, peppercorns,  cinnamon, turmeric, coriander, cumin powders and saute until the onions are translucent and browned.  Then add back the browned meat, a cup of water, the orange peel, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the meat is cooked and tender and about 1/4 cup of stock is still present.  Stir in the raisins and dates, simmer for another two minutes. Remove the meat mixture to a large bowl and set aside.

In a another large vessel add enough amount of water with a teaspoon of salt. Bring the water to a boil. Stir in the rice and let it cook till 80% done.  Strain the rice in and risen in fresh cold water to stop the cooking process, keep this aside.

In the same rice vessel  add enough water with a pinch of salt and  bring it to a boil add the toasted  spaghetti and cook this too till 80% done. Strain and risen in fresh cold water to stop the cooking process, keep this aside.

Soak the saffron in the warm water and keep aside (Ah see the setting sun).

In a bowl take the curds and 1/4th quantity of the cooked the rice  mix it well and keep aside.

Mix the remaining rice and noodles together and keep aside.

In a heavy bottomed pan melt butter to cover the bottom of the pan. Place the curd rice mixture at the bottom evenly. Spread the meat mixture evenly over the layer of rice. Then spread the remaining rice evenly over the meat.Use  spoon to poke holes down into the rice all the way to the bottom of the pot. 

Pour the saffron-scented water over the top layer of rice. Place fine slices of butter on top.

Cover the vessel with a aluminium foil, then with  a lid. This process is necessary since this keeps the steam from  dripping back down into the rice.

Place this on high heat for 5 minutes, then reduce to low and steam for about 35 minutes.  Remove the vessel from heat and let rest for 10 minutes.

As I am writing this post, the rice is cooking on the stove and the aroma of it is filling the house.  I am, waiting for it to be ready and just dig into it..... too long a wait...

Carefully invert this onto a large serving dish. Serve with crusty rice from the bottom of the pot,crumbled over the top.  Decorate the plate with cream curds, spaghetti, orange peel and almonds.

At last!  the wait is over and I, had my fill ...  ate to my heart's content and now, just to take a nap.  Too full to keep awake.  So bye, you too try and enjoy.


I first thought that I would eliminate the dates and  raisins.  But on second thoughts, used them and let me assure you that this sweet taste, blends well with the salty meat and rice.
I cooked the mutton in a pressure cooker for 10 minutes.

Ensure that the rice and spaghetti is cooked 80% or else the end result will be mashed and not grainy. 

For reshteh polow you can use both Beef, Lamb or chicken.
Homemade noodles called Reshteh are traditional for this dish. Pre-made, pre-toasted reshteh are available only in Middle Eastern markets. Since I couldn't find them in India, substituted it with spaghetti. 

Check to see what the other members are doing here.

Labels: Mutton, Rice, Healthy, Main course, Vegan, Continental Cuisine, Mena Cooking Club, Persia
Sneha's Recipe
Sneha's Recipe

Happy Home-maker and culinary enthusiast.


  1. I really wanted to make this, but forgot to buy the stuff that I needed. I plan to make it another day inshAllah. I want to try to ship those noodles in bc I would love to try them.

  2. Ah my only other Reshteh Polow sister in this challenge, looks really great. It would be good with a bit of salty meat.

  3. wow your polow looks amazing now im really wanting to make it !!!

  4. G'day! A gorgeous dish indeed! Congrats on completing this month's MENA Iranian Cuisine Challenge.
    When you mention vessel, what type of appliance or pot is this? A regular pot, a steamer? Thank you!
    Great photos too!
    Cheers! Joanne

  5. Look at this colors, garnish and beauty.. I so wanna dig in. Great effort for putting two dishes together at this month challenge. :) xx

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