Baghali Polo in Persian, or Timman Bagilla in Arabic is a delicious dill rice traditionally made with fava beans. It's so easy to make and full of flavour as well as protein. You must try it if you love dill and need a new rice dish in your meal plan!
What is Baghali Polo or Timman Bagilla?
I grew up eating Timman Bagilla because it's a classic Iraqi dish. It wasn't until recently that I found out there is an almost identical Persian version of this dish called Baghali Polo. It doesn't surprise me though because there are so many similarities between Persian and Iraqi cuisine!
I believe that Baghali Polo made can be cooked with layers of thin potatoes on the bottom of the pot along with saffron water, like most traditional Persian rice dishes. Other than those additional steps, the rice is made the same way we make it.
It can also be cooked with bone-in chicken pieces if you were looking to make it more of a complete meal. I love making mine both ways, depending on what I'm serving with it. This method is really easy and it's the way I make it to save on time but never compromise on flavour. It's a must try!
Ingredients you will need
You will need the following ingredients to make dill rice using my easy method:
- Basmati rice
- Olive oil (you can also use any vegetable oil)
- Fresh dill (I don't recommend using dry dill because the flavour is not as strong)
- Fava beans, which can be really hard to find depending on where you live. I get frozen and peeled fava beans from my local Arabic grocery store. If you can't find it, you can use fresh fava beans, boil them until tender, then peel them. If you can't find any fava beans at all, substitute lima beans or chickpeas
- Chicken broth, or substitute vegetable broth, or simply use water. But the broth will be a lot more flavourful
- Salt and pepper
- Optional: you can also cook this with bone-in chicken pieces to serve on top. Simply boil the chicken with bay leaves, cardamom pods, and a cinnamon stick until cooked, then remove them. Strain the broth to use for the rice, and lightly fry the chicken to brown it, then serve it on top of the rice
How to make Baghali Polo
Dill rice is really simple to make, there are just a few added steps to a regular pot of rice.
- Wash and drain your rice until the water runs clear, then soak it for 10 minutes
- Cook the finely chopped onions in the olive oil until softened
- Add the cooked (and peeled) fava beans (or cooked lima beans or cooked chickpeas). If using frozen beans, allow them to thaw in the pot for a few minutes
- Finely chop the dill and remove any thick and long stems, then add it to the pot along with half the chicken broth and the salt. Allow everything to come to a boil, which should take 5 minutes
- Add the drained rice and the rest of the chicken broth. Once it starts to bubble, turn the heat to low, cover with a well-sealed lid and cook undisturbed for 20 minutes
- Fluff the rice and allow it to stand for 10 minutes then serve
How to make it with meat or vegetarian
I usually cook this dill rice just using chicken broth, but you can substitute vegetable broth to make it completely vegetarian. Or check out my Carrot Rice recipe for another vegetarian rice option.
If I want it to be a full meal on its own, I add in chicken. To do that, use bone-in chicken pieces and boil them with bay leaves, cardamom pods and a cinnamon stick until cooked (about 30-40 minutes). This will create your chicken broth. Remove the chicken pieces, strain and use the broth following the recipe.
I like to then brown the chicken pieces slightly with a bit of oil in a pan and serve them on top of the rice. Turns out really delicious and it's a quick way to make it more of a hearty meal.
You'll have to try my Arabic Biryani recipe next, it's another great one pot rice and chicken dish.
What to serve this dill rice with
Baghali Polo is full of flavour and can be served as a full meal on its own with a simple yogurt cucumber salad or any other salad like Fattoush. Or you can serve it as a side to a protein dish like Kafta or roasted chicken. I love to also serve it with a plate of fresh radish and green onions.
Check out these other rice dishes
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Baghali Polo or Timman Bagilla (Dill Rice)
- 3.5 cups basmati rice
- 800 g cooked frozen & peeled fava beans OR 800g cooked lima beans
- 1 large onion
- 1 large bunch fresh dill approximately 3 cups packed
- 5 tablespoons olive oil + 2 tablespoons for rice
- 4 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth or replace with water
- Start by washing the rice well until the water runs clear, then soak it for 10 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients
- Finely dice the onion and cook it in a non-stick pot on medium heat with the 5 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook until softened for about 5-7 minutes
- Wash and finely chop the dill, ensuring to remove any really large and long stems
- Once onions have softened, add the frozen and peeled fava beans and allow them to thaw for 5 minutes. Or, add the cooked lima beans if you're using that instead
- Add the dill, salt, and 2 cups of the chicken broth. Cover and cook for a further 5 minutes
- Drain the rice and add it to the pot along with the rest of the broth. The liquid level should be approximately even with the surface of the rice (not much more). Turn the heat to high and allow it to come to a boil for a few minutes
- Cover the pot (with a well-sealed lid), turn the heat to low, and cook for 20 minutes undisturbed
- After 20 mins, fluff the rice with a fork and check on it. If it is still slightly under, you can add a small splash of water (¼ cup), cover it and allow it to cook for a further 10 minutes. If it is perfectly soft, turn the heat off and allow it to stand for 10 minutes
- Serve with Jajik and enjoy!
- If you can't find frozen and peeled fava beans, you can cook fresh fava beans, then peel them. Or you can use cooked lima beans, or if you can't find any of those, you can just use chickpeas
- You can make this dish with bone-in chicken pieces. Simply boil the chicken pieces with bay leaves, cardamom pods and a cinnamon stick, then use the broth to cook the rice, and brown the chicken to serve on top of the rice
- This recipe makes a large batch (roughly 6-8 generous servings) so if you're cooking for a smaller family, you can halve the recipe