Rice with Carrots & Orange

"Shirin Polo"

Adapted from Reyna Simnegar’s Persian Food from the Non- Persian Bride.

Carrots, which are not customarily included among the symbolic foods at the Sephardic table for Rosh Ha-Shanah, do appear at Ashkenazi ones representing hopes that our merits increase.  We convey these wishes for the New Year with this food because מערען "mehren” in Yiddish means both “carrots” and “increase.”



8 Servings



For the Rice:

  • 3 cups basmati rice, checked and rinsed
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 cup canola oil


For the Rice Topping:

  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup slivered orange peel (peel of 2 oranges) 
  • 1 cup slivered carrots
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds (optional)
  • 1/2 cup slivered pistachios (optional)


To Steam and Make Tadig:

  • canola oil 
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric and/or saffron powder
  • 2 potatoes, peeled, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 1 onion, cut in 1/4-inch rounds



  1. To cook the rice and make the topping: Fill a 6-quart nonstick saucepan with 8 cups water. Add oil, salt, and turmeric. Cover and bring to a brisk boil over high heat.
  2. Meanwhile, fill a small saucepan with 2 cups of water, slivered orange peel, carrots, and sugar. Bring to a brisk boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. When the turmeric water boils, add the rice and continue cooking, uncovered, over medium to high heat, stirring occasionally.
  4. After 3–5 minutes, use a slotted spoon to scoop some grains from the water. Break one grain in half to make sure it is “al dente”. Turn off heat and pour rice into the colander to drain; set aside.
  5. Drain the orange peel/carrot mixture. Gently stir the orange-carrot mixture, cinnamon, cardamom, almonds, and pistachios into the rice. Reserve some almonds and pistachios for garnish.


  1. To steam and make tadig: Place the empty 6-quart saucepan back onto the stovetop over medium heat. Add ¼-inch canola oil and 2 tablespoons water. Add turmeric and/or saffron powder. Stir together.
  1. Add potatoes and onions in a single layer. Add the drained rice and shape it into a pyramid.
  1. Cover the pot and cook for 5–7 minutes until rice begins to steam. Uncover and place 2 paper towels (one on top of the other) over the rice. The ends will extend outside the pot. Replace the lid tightly.
  1. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes. Turn off the heat and tilt the lid until ready to serve.


  1. Serve on a shallow platter, mounding the rice into a pyramid, and garnishing with the tadig.


Notes: Don’t worry about the oil in this recipe; it will be drained out before serving! Make sure to have a colander ready in the sink to drain the rice. When cooking the tadig, make sure the paper towels are safely away from the heat. I often make double of Shirin Polo topping and freeze half the batch to use later.


The Head of a Sheep ראש כבש or some other animal symbolizes that we should be like the head and not the tail.  Since the tongue is part of the head, I present this tagine, which calls for cow’s tongue.  This recipe also calls for swiss shard, which like beets, is called סלקא “salqa” in Hebrew.  The associated blessing that our enemies, haters and those who wish evil upon us shall depart is based on a pun relating the word for swiss chard with סלק “salaq,” which means to depart.


Beef Tongue Tagine with Swiss Chard 




See also:







6-8 Servings



  • 1 fresh beef tongue (3 to 4 pounds)
  • 2 bunches Swiss chard, leaves and ribs, sliced thin (optional)
  • 3 cups canned crushed tomatoes
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon ground saffron
  • 1 teaspoon dried ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 4 bay leaves, or 1 teaspoon ground
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 cup raisins (dark or golden) OR 1 cup pitted prunes
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar



  1. Place the tongue into a 6-quart saucepan and add enough water up to about 3 inches above the meat. 
  2. Add onion and half the garlic and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 2.5 hours, skimming any foam from the top as it forms.
  3. Remove the tongue from the broth and, when cool enough to handle, but still warm, peel the surface skin off and discard.  Cut tongue into 1 inch long slices that are ¼ inch thick. 
  4. Return tongue to the broth with the Swiss chard, tomatoes, remaining garlic, saffron, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, bay leaves and turmeric, and 2 cups water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the flame and cook, covered, for 45 minutes.
  5. Add the raisins or prunes, honey, and vinegar and cook for 20 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Transfer meat and vegetables to platter with a slotted spoon and reduce the broth on a high flame, until it has the consistency of syrup.  Pour this syrup over the meat and vegetables.


Serve over rice or couscous.


Persian Rosh Hashana Tongue w/ Tomatoes and Mushrooms.  "Zaban"


Adapted from Reyna Simnegar’s Persian Food from the Non- Persian Bride.  Like Reyna, I'm glad that we pray to be at the "head" and not the "tail" because if, "bar minan," it were the other way around, I also do not want to know what exactly we would have to eat instead!


6-8 Servings




Tongue Broth

  • 1 beef tongue
  • water as needed
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • dash turmeric
  • 1 (13-ounce) can mushrooms sliced or stems and pieces, drained
  • 1 cup reserved tongue broth
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • fresh flat leaf parsley, for garnish




  1. Place the tongue into a 6-quart saucepan and cover with water until it reaches about 3 inches above the meat. Add the onion and garlic and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 3½ to 4 hours, checking periodically and using a small strainer or slotted spoon to remove the scum that accumulates on the surface of the water.
  2. Remove tongue from broth and set aside to cool. Reserve one cup broth and set aside. To make sauce, sauté olive oil, onion, and turmeric in a skillet until onion is translucent. Add mushrooms and toss together for one minute. Add tongue broth, tomato paste, salt, and pepper and cook for about 3 minutes.
  3. While the tongue is still warm, peel the surface skin off and discard. Cut tongue into ¼-inch-thick slices and arrange on a serving platter. Pour the mushroom sauce on top and sprinkle with chopped parsley for garnish.



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