5 Ingredient Iranian Rice Recipe

Golden Brown Iranian Chelo

Iranian Rice Recipe "Chelo"
Iranian Rice Recipe "Chelo" | Source

What is Chelo

Making rice of any kind can bring home cooks to their knees at the passing thought of unwanted results. Today it is time to put the lack of rice confidence aside! This Chelo (CHEH-loh)—meaning rice—frees you from any worries surrounding rice recipes. This great recipe is clear, simple, and drawn out for you in a picture by picture layout to help you not only manage rice cooking, but show you how to proudly place a delightfully fluffy and popular Middle Eastern rice dish on your dinner table. You only need 5 regular old pantry and fridge ingredients, and a little rice know how. No matter your cooking skill set, this Iranian rice recipe is going to turn out beautiful and tasty! Let's go make some tempting, classic chelo!

Rate This Middle Eastern Rice Recipe

4.1 stars from 7 ratings of Chelo, (Iranian Rice)

Cook Time for Chelo, Iranian Rice

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 50 min
Ready in: 1 hour
Yields: Serves 4 Servings of golden brown Iranian chelo

Chelo Ingredients (Middle East Rice)

Five simple ingredients make a very satisfying Middle Eastern Rice; rice, yogurt, salt, butter, and water.
Five simple ingredients make a very satisfying Middle Eastern Rice; rice, yogurt, salt, butter, and water. | Source

5 Familiar Chelo Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups (375 ml) Rice, preferably basmati
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) Yogurt, plain
  • 2-2/3 cups (650 ml) Water
  • 6 tablespoons (90 ml) Butter, cut into cubes, and softened
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) Salt, course

Picture by Picture Directions for Starting Chelo

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Rinse the rice a couple of times and drain.Put drained rice in the saucepan.Rice should fully cover the bottom evenly.Add a little water to the yogurt to thin.Add the remaining water to the lightly thinned yogurt.With all of the water in the yogurt, stir it in well.Pour the liquid yogurt over the rice.Add the salt.Add the softened butter cubes.Stir the ingredients gently to distribute them evenly.Bring the rice and all ingredients to a boil.
Rinse the rice a couple of times and drain.
Rinse the rice a couple of times and drain. | Source
Put drained rice in the saucepan.
Put drained rice in the saucepan. | Source
Rice should fully cover the bottom evenly.
Rice should fully cover the bottom evenly. | Source
Add a little water to the yogurt to thin.
Add a little water to the yogurt to thin. | Source
Add the remaining water to the lightly thinned yogurt.
Add the remaining water to the lightly thinned yogurt. | Source
With all of the water in the yogurt, stir it in well.
With all of the water in the yogurt, stir it in well. | Source
Pour the liquid yogurt over the rice.
Pour the liquid yogurt over the rice. | Source
Add the salt.
Add the salt. | Source
Add the softened butter cubes.
Add the softened butter cubes. | Source
Stir the ingredients gently to distribute them evenly.
Stir the ingredients gently to distribute them evenly. | Source
Bring the rice and all ingredients to a boil.
Bring the rice and all ingredients to a boil. | Source

Picture by Picture Directions for Finishing Chelo

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Simmer until half of the water is absorbed.Continue to simmer until steam holes are evident on the surface of the rice.Fluff the rice with a fork, and cover. Allow to cook over medium heat for 45 minutes.Replace the saucepan lid with an inverted plate. Flip the pan so the rice releases onto the plate in one mold. It's okay if some of the rice sticks, it will taste just as great!
Simmer until half of the water is absorbed.
Simmer until half of the water is absorbed. | Source
Continue to simmer until steam holes are evident on the surface of the rice.
Continue to simmer until steam holes are evident on the surface of the rice. | Source
Fluff the rice with a fork, and cover. Allow to cook over medium heat for 45 minutes.
Fluff the rice with a fork, and cover. Allow to cook over medium heat for 45 minutes. | Source
Replace the saucepan lid with an inverted plate. Flip the pan so the rice releases onto the plate in one mold. It's okay if some of the rice sticks, it will taste just as great!
Replace the saucepan lid with an inverted plate. Flip the pan so the rice releases onto the plate in one mold. It's okay if some of the rice sticks, it will taste just as great! | Source

Instructions for Making Middle Eastern Rice

  1. Rinse the rice several times to clean away any dust and debris from manufacturing and packaging. Let the water drain off thoroughly (about 1 minute).
  2. Add a little bit of the water to the plain yogurt and mix with a fork or whisk. This is to thin the yogurt and prevent lumps. Then add in all of the 2-2/3 cups of water to make a yogurt liquid. Be sure to stir with a fork to incorporate the water completely.
  3. Pour the rinsed and drained rice into a saucepan (NOTE: Using a non-stick pan is highly recommended), making sure it is evenly distributed on the bottom of the pan. Add the yogurt, butter and salt to the rice. Stir them in just enough to incorporate the ingredients together, but not so much that you disturb the evenness of rice layer.
  4. Bring the liquid to a boil over medium-high heat. Now, turn heat down and let it simmer until half of the water has been absorbed by the rice and the steam has punched holes through the surface of the rice. (You should be able to see the holes on the surface of the rice pretty clearly.)
  5. At this point, you want to "fluff" the rice with a fork. Next, cover the saucepan with a lid and cook over medium heat. When you see that the edges are a golden brown color, the rice is done(about 45 minutes).
  6. Take the lid off of the saucepan and invert a flat plate on the opening of the pan instead. Carefully flip the saucepan over to release the formed rice. The rice should pop out on the plate in a single form. Tapping the bottom of the pan can help release the rice.
  7. Cut rice in wedge shaped servings and proudly present your perfect Chelo to family and friends!
  8. NOTE: Adding your favorite herbs and spices to the thinned yogurt (see step #2) before cooking brings an unexpected zing to this rice recipe! Enjoy!

Adding Egg Protein to Rice Recipes

If you want to give this dish a nutritional kick, adding a couple of scambled eggs to it can booste the protein quite a bit. To make the chelo recipe with eggs, do as follows:

(When your rice is to the point where you have fluffed it—step #5—and before the final 45 minute cooking period)

  • In a small bowl, beat two fresh eggs with 1 teaspoon of cool water
  • Pour the eggs over the rice, making sure to get it evenly distributed
  • Give the pan a shake or two to settle the beaten eggs to the lower part of the rice
  • Continue cooking according to steps 5 through 8

Adding the eggs also will assist in holding the rice form in shape when you go to turn it out onto the plate. I add a little sage and cumin when I make it with the eggs and it makes a really good rice recipe! Now go enjoy your Iranian rice dish!

Chelo Nutrition Values May Vary, Depending on Types of Ingredients Used

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 3/4 cup (cooked)
Calories 318
Calories from Fat180
% Daily Value *
Fat 20 g31%
Saturated fat 11 g55%
Unsaturated fat 1 g
Carbohydrates 35 g12%
Sugar 2 g
Fiber 3 g12%
Protein 3 g6%
Cholesterol 48 mg16%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

What You Think Really Does Matter!

Had you ever heard of "chelo" before?

  • No. I thought a "chelo" was a stringed musical instrument.
  • Not really, but I don't get around much.
  • Yes, I have a friend who has mentioned it.
  • Of course! I adore Middle Eastern cuisine so chelo is nothing new to me.
  • All of the time! I am from this culture, so I was excited to see the recipe here!
  • Yep. Chelo is no big deal, we eat ot all of the time.
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Comments for "Authentic Middle Eastern Rice, a 5 Ingredient Recipe" 13 comments

K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 4 years ago from Northern, California Author

Teresa~ Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I hope your kids love the recipe!

HubHugs~


Teresa Coppens profile image

Teresa Coppens 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Another fantastic and easy to follow recipe! My kids love rice and this is definitely one to try. Thanks so much for sharing this one. Voted up and shared!


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 4 years ago from Northern, California Author

Livelonger~ Just a quick thanks! ;)


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 4 years ago from Northern, California Author

Livelonger!! Had I known your pop was from Iran I would have published the recipe far sooner! I have wanted to try the version with the crispy potato bottom (top?) but haven't so far. What a yummy kick of caramelized flavor it must offer! Maybe now is a good time to give it a go!? I look forward to hearing how the chelo (or tadeeg) turns out for you, sir!

Always thrilled to find you in the comments section, brightens my Thursday!

Huge HubHugs and Shalom my friend~


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 4 years ago from Northern, California Author

Princessa~ A few of my favorite accompanying dishes for chelo are; chicken and almond Tagine, plain old pan fried lamb chops, Koftas (meatballs) and eggs, or a (time consuming) Moussaka (think of something like an eggplant lasagne). On occasion, chelo is simply a great meal all on its own!

Thanks for making it by today! I appreciate your comments and question.

HubHugs~


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 4 years ago from Northern, California Author

Audreyhowitt~ It is pretty easy to make and the taste is something very special! I hope you give it a try.

Cheers~


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 4 years ago from Northern, California Author

cclitgirl! So nice to see you here today! Happy belated Birthday! I am with you, the recipe had me at "butter and rice" without a doubt! Thanks for stopping by.

HubHugs~


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 4 years ago from Northern, California Author

theclevercat~ Without herbs the rice comes out light and fluffy with a buttery richness accented by the salt and the earthy tones of the golden brown basmati rice. You can add whatever extra ingredients to the rice you would like! There is a sweet version of the dish made with dates, cinnamon, orange juice and zest, orange blossom water, sugar or honey, and a sprig of mint; it is like tasting the Persian sky! (Reduce the amount of water you use to equal the amount of orange juice, blossom water, and 1/4 of the amount of honey combined.)

The yogurt keeps it very fluffy yet holds it together in a more molded state, adds protein, and a wonderful tangy edge to the dish. It should come out very moist with a crunchy brown surface. It can be sliced in wedge shapes and eaten by hand, but depending on just how it comes out--solidly molded or a little looser--you may prefer to use a plate and fork. Adding the egg to the recipe will make it more "finger-food" friendly. However; no matter what you add to the recipe, Persian rice is something quite special sweet or savory!

Thanks for your wonderful questions Rachel! I hope you enjoy the recipe should you give it a go.

HubHugs~


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco

Wow, awesome! You know my father's from Iran, right? We ate all sorts of rice growing up. Chelo (the kind with stuff in it) was my favorite. (Polo is just the plain steamed rice) Only at Indian restaurants can you find rice that's so light, fluffy, and fragrant. I honestly have never made Persian rice before, but thank you so much for sharing the technique in such clear terms. I'll give it a try and let you know.

BTW I love the crunchy "crust" you've made so beautifully here. There's another variation called "tadeeg" that uses sliced potatoes at the bottom, which get crunchy from frying.

HubHugs and shalom, my friend!


Princessa profile image

Princessa 4 years ago from France

This looks good I need to try it. What would you eat it with?


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 4 years ago from California

I love this lind of rice and it looks so easy to make!


cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 4 years ago from Western NC

OH my goodness! This looks really good. Yogurt, rice, butter...I love all those things, hehe. I'll have to give this a try. :) Yum!


theclevercat profile image

theclevercat 4 years ago from Massachusetts

Can we do it sweet? What does it taste like without herbs? What is the purpose of the yogurt? Does it end up dry or soft? Can one pick it up like bread? I must know! :^) Beautiful hub. Voted useful!

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