Overhead view of a platter of Persian Polo.

Persian Polo

Persian Polo, a Persian-style rice with a crispy bottom, centers around our U.S.-grown basmati rice. For this staple dish, the rice is par-boiled, then steamed, and then that tasty crunchy bottom layer is formed under the rice (known as tahdig).

This vegan recipe serves four and comes to us from our friends Val & Mani of Plant-Based Passport in partnership with Feedfeed and USA Rice.

  • Servings
  • Prep Time
    30 min
  • Cook Time
    1 hr
  • Total Time
    1 hr 30 min


  • 1 large russet potato, peeled and sliced into thin medallions
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • water to soak rice, plus additional ⅓ cup water, divided
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter, plus more to serve
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon saffron threads bloomed in 3 tablespoons hot water


  • Soak potatoes: Soak sliced potatoes in water to remove starch.
  • Soak rice: Add rice to a large bowl and add enough water to cover the rice by 2 inches. Mix in 3 tablespoons of salt. Cover and soak rice for at least 20 minutes (the longer the better).
  • Par-boil rice: Bring a pot of water to boil. Then drain rice, add to boiling water, and parboil for 3 minutes. You want the rice to be al dente (but not fully cooked). Drain rice and set aside.
  • Prepare potatoes and rice for cooking: Heat butter over medium heat in a separate pot. Add ⅓ cup water to the pot. Drain potatoes and layer them in a single layer over the bottom of the pot. Then add the rice over the potatoes, making sure it’s evenly distributed.
  • Cook rice: Tear off enough paper towel sheets to create a double layer of coverage over the pot. Place the paper towels over the pot and secure the lid tightly over the paper towels. Depending on the strength of your burner, reduce heat to low or medium-low (our burner is weak, so we reduce to medium-low). Cook at least 1 hour. Potatoes will form a crispy bottom called a tahdig. 
  • Optional: Mix ½ cup of cooked rice with bloomed saffron, topping remaining rice with the mixture. Serve with additional vegan butter.