Zamarod Palow is one of many Afghan rice dishes, all of which are cooked in a meat or vegetable broth. It literally means “Emerald Rice” reflecting its beautiful green color, but since Afghans have two rice dishes that have a green color (the other is flavored with Dill) this is easier for me to remember as “Spinach Rice.” Basically it is a Palow made with a blended spinach and lamb broth which is mixed into the rice. And no, this is not a tricky way of making kids eat their greens, in fact Zamarod Palow is a special Afghan rice dish usually made for occasions such as weddings and holidays. The earthy flavors of the spinach paired with the rich succulent lamb all topped with tart dried barberries make for a splendid Palow perfect for any holiday spread.
Zamarod (Emerald) Palow
-4 cups rice (Soaked three hours in advance)
-2 Pounds Lamb (with bone)
-1 large onion
-2 cloves garlic
-1 pound spinach (1 box frozen)
-1 bunch Cilantro
-1 tablespoon salt
-1 teaspoon black pepper
-1 teaspoon cardamom
-1 teaspoon cumin
-Salt as needed for the rice
-1 cup Zeresk (dried barberries)
- Sauté onions in a pressure cooker until light brown. Add 2 cloves of minced garlic and meat. Sauté the meat and onions, until outside of meat has browned. Add 2 and a half cups of water and 1 tablespoon salt, and turn the pressure cooker on for twenty minutes.
- While meat is cooking, in a small pot cook the spinach and cilantro.
- Once spinach and cilantro has cooked (soft and tender) process in a food until it forms a paste.
- Once the meat has cooked carefully remove the pieces of meat from pressure cooker and put to the side, make sure there are no pieces of meat or bone left in the pressure cooker.
- Add the spinach paste to the meat broth in the pressure-cooker, and let this simmer for a few minutes as you prepare the rice.
- In separate pot, boil salted water. Add the rice. Let the rice cook until al-dente. Then drain and rinse the rise with cold water in a colander.
- Pour the rice back into pot it was boiled in. Gently stir in the spinach broth mixture. Gently fold in a teaspoon of black pepper, cardamom, cumin,
- Make sure you gently mix all of this with the rice, so the rice is fully coated in the spinach broth mixture.
- Once rice is mixed, gently make a well in the middle of the rice and place the meat in this well. Cover the meat with the rice. With the back of your spatula, make small holes in the rice (around the meat mound), this is necessary so the rice steams properly ensuring soft and fluffy Palow.
- Cover pot with foil.
- Put in oven, bake at 380 for 30 minutes.
1) Leave the Zereshk to soak in warm water for about 10 minutes.
2) Once ready heat some oil and a frying pan, and add the Zereshk. Add about half a cup of water, and sprinkle about a tablespoon of sugar on the Zereshk. Let this simmer for about five minutes, a light pink colored syrup should develop and the Zereshk should be soft once finished.
3) When the rice is cooked garnish with Zereshk, and spoon some of the liquid syrup on top of the rice.