Lamb Shanks with Persian Saffron, Peas and Dill Rice | Nokhod Polo ba Mahiche | igotitfrommymaman.com
Lamb Dishes,  Persian Classics,  Persian Rice,  Persian Stews

Nokhod Polo ba Mahiche

Nokhod Polo is probably my favourite variation of Persian rice. It is saffron infused basmati rice with dill and peas – Such a good combo!

You can combine it with almost any Persian dish you fancy! If lamb isn’t really your thing you can make it with Saffron Chicken for example. Nokhod Polo also goes really well with vegetable stew. Or serve it with fried eggs for a quick vegetarian weekday version! I’m telling you, the latter is one of my favourite things ever!

However if you want to make something a bit more classy on the weekend, lamb shanks (Mahiche) are a great option. Both, the lamb as well as the rice don’t need much preparation. You can prep everything in 20 minutes and then let it simmer and do its thing. The perfect dish for when you’re expecting guests, or wanna spend your Sunday with your family, rather than in the kitchen.

Ingredients (for 4 servings)

For the Mahiche (lamb shanks)

4 lamb shanks

1 onion

6 cloves garlic

1 carrot

4 tbsp tomato puree

3 tbsp vegetable oil

4 bay leaves

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp black pepper

Salt to taste

For the Nokhod Polo (Rice)

600g basmati rice (3 cups)

1400 ml water (6 cups)

180g frozen peas (2 cup)

1 large bunch fresh dill or 30g dried dill (1 cup)

4 tbsp ghee (cleared butter) or vegetable oil

1/4 tsp saffron

Salt to taste

Time

Prep: 10 min

Cook: 2 h 20 min

Total: 2 h 20 min

Method

Cook the lamb shanks

Skin off the onion and garlic. Finely chop the onion and slice the garlic cloves.

Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan. Fry the lamb shanks from all sides over high temperature until they are golden brown. Be careful not to burn yourself. Transfer them into the pan you want to cook them in.

Fry the onions in the same oil you fried the lamb shanks in. If there is too much char in the pan, I first remove the oil with a tablespoon, clean the pan, and then transfer the oil back into the pan.

Fry the onions over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and fry them together for another 3 minutes or so. The onions are ready when they are golden brown.

Frying onions for Persian cooking | igotitfrommymaman.com

Transfer the fried onions and garlic into the pan with the meat, together with the peeled carrot and bay leaves. Add about 1.5 cups freshly boiled water, or enough to cover half of the lamb shanks.

Preparing Mahiche | Cooking Persian lamb shanks | igotitfrommymaman.com

Put on the lid and let the lamb shanks cook over medium to low heat.

After 1h turn the lamb shanks, and add the tomato puree, turmeric, black pepper, and salt. Put the link back on and let them simmer for another hour.

Mahiche | Persian lamb shanks | igotitfrommymaman.com

Prepare the Nokhod Polo

Combine the saffron with a few tbsp freshly boiled water and let it sit in a warm place.

Once the lamb has been cooking for about 1h and 15 minutes start preparing the rice.

Wash the rice by transferring it to a pan, adding water, moving it around with your hand, rinsing the water, and repeating these steps 3 to 4 times.

Cover the rice with 1400ml/6 cups of cold water and generously salt it. Add 2 to 4 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil and bring it to boil over medium heat. Once holes start forming in the rice as shown in the picture below, add the frozen peas and dried dill.

Berenje Kateh | Persian rice | igotitfrommymaman.com

Give it a quick stir, then pour in the saffron water in at least four different spots. The yellow saffron rice will show when you cut the ‘rice cake’ into slices. It also gives the rice amazing fragrance and taste.

Nokhod Polo | Persian rice with peas and dill | igotitfrommymaman.com

Now reduce the temperature to low and put on the lid. You can cover the lid with a clean kitchen towel to absorb even more moisture from the rice. Let it slowly cook for about 40 minutes. The longer you leave it, the darker and crispier the tadig (rice crust). But be careful not to burn it!

When you’re ready to serve, you can shock the outside of the pan with cold water. This will help your rice to slide out of the pan effortlessly. Wearing oven gloves put an upside down plate on top of the pan, hold the plate and pan with both hands (thumbs facing you), and carefully flip them around. The pan should come off easily.

Serve with the lamb shanks, the flavourful sauce, and creamy yogurt. Enjoy!

Nokhod Polo ba Mahiche | Persian lamb shanks with peas and dill rice | igotitfrommymaman.com

Nokhod Polo ba Mahiche

Course Main Course
Cuisine Persian
Keyword lamb, lamb shanks, mahiche, nokhod polo, peas and dill rice
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

For the lamb shanks (Mahiche)

  • 4 lamb shanks
  • 1 onion
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 carrot
  • 4 tbsp tomato puree
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • salt to taste

For the rice (Nokhod Polo)

  • 600 g basmati rice (3 cups)
  • 1400 ml water (6 cups)
  • 180 g frozen peas (2 cup)
  • 30 g dried dill (1 cup) or 1 large bunch fresh dill
  • 1/4 tsp saffron
  • 4 tbsp ghee or butter
  • salt to taste

Instructions

COOK THE LAMB SHANKS (MAHICHE)

  1. Skin off the onion and garlic. Finely chop the onion and slice the garlic cloves.

  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan. Fry the lamb shanks from all sides over high temperature until they are golden brown. Be careful not to burn yourself. Transfer them into the pan you want to cook them in.

  3. Fry the onions in the same oil you fried the lamb shanks in. If there is too much char in the pan, I first remove the oil with a tablespoon, clean the pan, and then transfer the oil back into the pan.

  4. Fry the onions over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and fry them together for another 3 minutes or so. The onions are ready when they are golden brown.

  5. Transfer the fried onions and garlic into the pan with the meat, together with the peeled carrot and bay leaves. Add about 350ml/1.5 cups freshly boiled water, or enough to cover half of the lamb shanks.

  6. Put on the lid and let the lamb shanks cook over medium to low heat.

  7. After 1h turn the lamb shanks, and add the tomato puree, turmeric, black pepper, and salt. Put the link back on and let them simmer for another hour.

PREPARE THE RICE (NOKHOD POLO)

  1. Once the lamb has been cooking for about 1h and 15 minutes start preparing the rice.

  2. Wash the rice by transferring it to a pan, adding water, moving it around with your hand, rinsing the water, and repeating these steps 3 to 4 times.

  3. Cover the rice with 1400ml/6 cups of cold water and salt it generously. Add 2 to 4 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil and bring it to boil over medium heat. Once holes start forming in the rice as shown in the picture, add the frozen peas and dried dill.

  4. Give it a quick stir, then pour in the saffron water in at least four different spots. The yellow saffron rice will show when you cut the ‘rice cake’ into slices. It also gives the rice amazing fragrance and taste.

  5. Now reduce the temperature to low and put on the lid. You can cover the lid with a clean kitchen towel to absorb even more moisture from the rice. Let it slowly cook for about 40 minutes. The longer you leave it, the darker and crispier the tadig (rice crust). But be careful not to burn it!

  6. When you’re ready to serve, you can shock the outside of the pan with cold water. This will help your rice to slide out of the pan effortlessly. Wearing oven gloves put an upside down plate on top of the pan, hold the plate and pan with both hands (thumbs facing you), and carefully flip them around. The pan should come off easily.

  7. Serve with the lamb shanks, the flavourful sauce, and creamy yogurt. Enjoy!

I hope you enjoyed this recipe! If you have any questions please let me know in the comments, I’m always happy to help. I’d love to see your Nokhod Polo ba Mahiche! Feel free to tag me with @igotitfrommymaman on Facebook or Insta so I can take a look and give you a thumbs up!

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Looking for more Persian recipes? Here are my Persian classics!

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Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy your meal!

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