Havij Polo – Persian Jewelled Carrot Rice with Saffron Chicken


This is one my absolute go to dishes when I want to go all out and really impress. The best part is that for a dish that truly impresses it is actually so simple and can be made ahead of time.
I made this recipe exactly a year ago and shared it on my instagram.

One year later, I have improved the recipe and typically this dish is served with chicken in Iran, I have paired it with the best marinated chicken you could possibly ask for!

I didn’t end up using any salt when cooking the rice as I wanted baby M to have this meal too and surprisingly when we ate this we didn’t add any to our plates either. This rice is so well seasoned that it was perfect and it didn’t need any. However, salt is to taste therefore feel free to add some while cooking this recipe.

Organic carrots have so much more flavour, that is precisely why I choose to use them when making this dish. I also find that organic carrots don’t really break the bank compared to non organic carrots so its definitely worth spending a few more pennies for the incredible flavour.
Do not grate or put the carrots in a food processor as they will become too fine and therefore will make the rice mushy in the cooking process. Its important that the carrots hold together and therefore shredding it finely is definitely the way to go.

This recipe can also pass for a vegetarian dish if you just remove the chicken from the equation, as the rice is incredibly delicious and satisfying on its own.

Havij Polo – Persian Jewelled Carrot Rice with Saffron Chicken

Prep Time 160 min Cook Time 90 min Total Time 4 hrs 10 mins


For the Chicken

For the Rice


  1. Combine all ingredients from the above list to the chicken and place in the fridge to marinade at least 2 hours but preferably over night.

  2. Soak the rice for 10 minutes to an hour, wash and it is ready to use.

  3. Preheat the oven, line a tray with non stick paper, place the chicken on the tray and bake in the oven on medium heat until the chicken is cooked. In my gas oven this took 40 minutes on gas 5.

  4. Fry the onions in ghee and as soon as softened add the shredded carrots and all spices and fry for about 4-5 minutes until all softened and aromatic.

  5. Parboil the rice and drain fully so that it is ready to start layering with the carrot mixture.

  6. Rice with Persian style potato Tahdig - choose a large non stick pot, add a generous amount of ghee or oil. peel and slice a potato into large circles and while the oil is hot layer the potatoes on the base of the pot and remove the pot off the heat.

  7. Place 2 large ladle fulls of rice over the potatoes and spread evenly followed by one large spoons of the carrot mixture. Mix the rice with the content a little, do this carefully so that the spoon doesn't touch the potatoes at the base of the pot.

  8. Distribute the carrot mixture with the rice equally and continue the layering process until the rice and the mixture have finished. I always do any dishes with similar concept in 3 layers, splitting the rice and my mixture in three batches.

  9. Place the lid on the pot, place on high fire for 3 minutes until steam is formed in the pot, then turn down the fire and leave it on low for 30 to 40 minutes or until the rice is cooked. Don't open the lid constantly as the steam needs to stay in the pot in order to help it cook.

  10. While the rice is cooking, soak the almonds in boiling water for about 20 minutes or until the skin slips off when squeezed between fingers. Fry the almonds in ghee on low heat until golden.

  11. Similarly soak the sultanas in warm water, alternatively if the water is hot then soak for less than 5 minutes, then drain fully. When the almonds are almost don't frying, add the drained sultanas, fry for another 2 minutes before taking it off the heat.

  12. Serve the rice with chicken, fried nuts and sultans and enjoy.

Did you make this recipe?

hello and welcome 

hello and welcome 


Nelly Babazadeh

Content Creator

I'm Nelly, the recipes I share here are inspired by the people, cultures and places beloved to me. Peanutswirls represents my love for food, cooking and hosting. I hope to share with you a taste of the Middle East influnced by my upbringing in the West.

I can't wait to see what we cook together.

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