Parda plau (Pastry wrapped Iraqi rice, vegetables and chicken pilaf)

With the daring kitchen and the secret recipe club coming to an end and me no longer taking part in Darna magazine , I found my self looking for a new challenge, something to push me outside of my comfort zone into trying new recipes, meeting new people and learning more about all the hidden gems different cuisines have to offer.

Today’s post is my first challenge with the MENA cooking club, if you don’t know about it, here is a little background from their “about ” page:

Mena Cooking club was started for foodies worldwide who have a love of trying new things. You do not have to be Middle Eastern or North African or have a connection to them you just have to have an appetite to learn more about beautiful food cultures. We will go through the countries in alphabetical order with a host, choosing a savory and a sweet dish, then each member prepares the recipe of their choosing . Together we will share our creations and what we have learned. We hope to make new friends, learn more about food and just have fun.

Parda plau the ultimate Iraqi rice and pastry dish.jpg

I am really excited for this new adventure and I look forward to taking you along with me every month on a new culinary journey in the Middle East and North Africa.With fewer commitments on my plate , I also am really looking forward to blogging more frequently, working on my videos and youtube channel (please subscribe if you haven’t already) but most importantly reconnecting with many of my blogging friends who I have missed dearly.

Parda plau Iraqi rice and fillo pastry dish that is baked to perfection.jpg
This month’s recipe is Parda plau and it comes from Iraq. Parda plau means “rice behind the curtain” and the name could not be more fitting as the recipe involves baking the rice after wrapping it in a curtain of dough/pastry.

Parda plau has been on my must try list forever. I have been intrigued by it because it is really similar to Ozzi that we serve in the the Levant (Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria) but the spices and vegetables added vary between the two.What I also love about it is that it is a great way to use up leftover Biryani or rice pilafs, simply line your baking dish in your choice of pastry (fillo, samosa dough or  homemade dough) and bake it in the oven

The baking allows the rice to steam and take on more of the flavor of the spices and the vegetables mixed with it. Add a crunchy outer layer to provide contrast to the rice and vegetables and you have a winner for sure

My entire family LOVED the parda plau! My kids love anything crunchy so the golden fillo was a major plus for them, they also loved the fact that each spoonful was different because there are so many things mixed with the rice, peas, carrots, potatoes(their favorite), almonds, chicken and raisins. They spent the meal teasing each other. Oh I got potatoes.. oh this spoonful has chicken raisins and almonds, ..Oh I’ve had 3 spoonfuls with potatoes in a row!

This recipe is really easy to put together , reading through  it will make it seem too long and complicated but it’s not. It’s just because there are multiple steps to follow but they are all simple and hardly require any time.

Parda plau biryani in fillo.jpg

Parda plau

2 cups basmati rice rinsed and drained
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup vermicelli
4 chicken breasts cut into cubes (see notes)
1 teaspoon ground all spice (Pimento berries)
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 cups water (or the amount specified on the package of the rice)

1 cup blanched slivered almond
1 cup sultanas

For the vegetables, nuts and raisins
Vegetable oil (for the amount see notes)
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen  carrots
3 medium potatoes(3 cups) peeled and cut into 1 cm squares

4 eggs hard boiled

1/2 package thawed fillo dough
Olive oil or ghee for layering the filo

Add the oil to a pot on medium heat, add the vermicelli and fry until golden brown drain reserving the oil, set aside

Add the oil back into the pot , add the chicken cubes and cook until golden brown

Add the rice and stir for 2-4 minutes

Add the vermicelli back into the pot, add the salt and spices, stir

Add the water and cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and reduce the heat to low.

Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the rice completely absorbs the water.

In the meantime:

Fry or saute the peas and carrots , set aside

Fry the potatoes until golden brown, set aside

Fry the slivered almonds until golden, set aside

Fry the sultanas until they puff up, drain, set aside

Set half of the almonds and sultanas aside for decoration

Delicately fold the peas, carrots, potatoes , half of the almonds and sultanas into the rice

Preheat oven to 200 C, place the rack in the middle.

You can use melted butter or melted ghee, olive oil, vegetable oil or olive oil spray for the following steps

Brush/spray the bottom and sides of an oven-safe pot or high rimmed dish with the oil or fat of your choice.
Begin to layer the filo pastry over the bottom and the sides, making sure there is an overhang covering the rim of your dish or pot.

Remember to generously spray or brush each layer with oil, butter or ghee before adding the next one

I used 6 sheets of fillo pastry but you can use more or less, it’s up to you
Fill the filo-lined dish to the brim with cooled rice mixture.
Fold over the over-hanging pastry, to cover the top of the rice. You can add more fillo pastry to the top if needed.
Brush the top of the fillo with oil or melted butter or ghee

Bake for about 20 minutes until the edges and the top are golden brown and crispy
Take out of the oven and allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes
Carefully invert on the serving dish.
Decorate with the reserved almonds and sultanas
To serve, cut into portions.
Parda plau Iraqi Rice and vegetable dish wrapped in fillo dough and baked to perfection.jpg



Some recipes call for cooking the chicken in boiling water first then shredding it and mixing it with the rice, I personally prefer cutting it into cubes and cooking it in the way listed in the recipe, I think the cubes have better taste and texture but it’s up to you if you’d like to shred it instead

Regarding the oil and the vegetables in this recipe,you have two options, you can shallow fry the vegetables and if you decide to do that you will need 2 cups of vegetable oil. The other option would be to saute them, if you decide to do that you will need 1/2 cup of vegetable oil or olive oil.

The spices you use for the rice and  chicken can be adapted to your liking, some use biryani spices, others add curry , the basic 4 are salt, pimento, cardamom and cinnamon but feel free to adapt it to your liking.


وصفه اليوم من اشهر وصفات المطبخ العراقي. هي وصفه تشتهر في شمال العراق بشكل خاص و المعنى الحرفي لبرده بلاو هو الرز المغطى بستار و سبب التسميه هو انه الرز يتم تغطيته بطبقه من العجين او عجينه السمبوسك او عجينه الكلاج ثم يخبز في الفرن
الوصفه مزيج لذيذ من قرمشه العجينه المحمصه مع الرز المعطر بالبهارات و الغني بنكهات الخضار و المكسرات و الزبيب
الوصفه نوعا ما بتشبه الاوزي المشهور في بلاد الشام مع بعض الاختلاف في البهارات و خليط الخضار المستخدم. بانصحكم تجربوها بشده لانه فعلا مزيج النكهات و الالوان طيب جدا و هي وصفه رائعه للعزومات لانه بامكانكم تحضير الحشوه في اليوم السابق و كل المطلوب في يوم العزومه هو خبزها في الفرن و هو ما يستغرق 20-30 دقيقه لا اكثر
الوصفه كمان خيار رائع لتستغلوا بواقي البرياني او اي طبق اساسه الارز و تعيدوا تقديمها بشكل جديد من باب حفظ النعمه

بردة بلاو

2 كوب أرز البسمتي مغسول و مصفى

1/3 كوب زيت الزيتون

1/2 كوب الشعيرية

4 صدور دجاج مقطعة إلى مكعبات (انظر الملاحظات)

1 ملعقة صغيرة من البهار الحلو

2 ملعقة شاي ملح

1/2 ملعقة صغيرة من الهال المطحون

1/2 ملعقة صغيرة من القرفة

4 كوب ماء (أو الكميه المحدده على عبوه نوع الارز الذي تستخدمونه)

1 كوب لوز مقشر و مقطع شرائح

1 كوب  زبيب

1 كوب بازيلا مجمدة

1 كوب جزر مجمد

3 حبات من البطاطا المتوسطة (3 أكواب) مقشرة ومقطعة إلى مربعات 1 سم

4 بيض المسلوق

نصف باكيت عجينه كلاج

زيت الزيتون أو السمن لدهن طبقات عجينه الكلاج

في طنجره على نار متوسطة الحرارةنضيف الزيت و  الشعيرية وتقلى حتى تصبح ذهبيه اللون ثم ترفع من الطنجره و نحتفظ بها جانبا

تضاف مكعبات الدجاج وتطهى حتى يصبح لونها ذهبيا

يضاف الأرز ويقلب لمدة 2-4 دقائق

نعيد الشعيرية إلى الطنجره، يضاف الملح والتوابل ويحرك

يضاف الماء ثم نقوم بتغطيه الطنجره بوعاء محكم و نخفض الحراره

يطهى لمدة 15 إلى 20 دقيقة أو حتى يمتص الأرز تماما في الماء.

في هذه الأثناء:

نقلي البازيلا و الجزر او نقلبهم بقليل من الزيت ثم نضعهم جانبا

تقلى البطاطا حتى تكتسب اللون البني الذهبي، ثم نضعها جانبا

يقلى اللوز حتى يصبح ذهبيا و يقل الزبيب حتى تنتفخ حباته ثم يرفع من الزيت و يوضع على ورق نشاف

نحتفظ بنصف كميه اللوز و الزبيب جانبا

نضيف البازيلا و الجزر و البطاطا و اللوز و الزبيب للارز و نقلب بلطف

نسخن الفرن إلى 200 مئوية، ونضع الرف في الوسط.

يمكنكم استخدام الزبدة المذابة أو السمن الذائب اوزيت الزيتون اوالزيوت النباتية أو رذاذ زيت الزيتون للخطوات التالية

ندهن جوانب و قاعطنجره يمكنكم ادخالها الى الفرن او صينيه ذات جوانب مرتفعه

نرتب طبقات من ورق الكلاج بحث نغطي القاع و جوانب الطنجره و نسدل الزائد من العجين على جوانب الطنجره لنستخدمه لاحقا في تغطيه الارز من الاعلى

يجب ان نقوم بدهن كل طبقه بالزيت قبل وضع الطبقه التاليه

انا استخدمت 6 ورقات من عجينه الكلاج يمكنكم استخدام اكثر او اقل

نضيف حشوه الارز و نملا الطنجره تماما

نستخد اجزاء ورق الكلاج التي اسدلناها على حواف الطنجره لتغطية الجزء العلوي من الأرز.بامكانكم اضافه ورقه او اكثر لتغطيه الارز ان لزم الامر

ندهن السطح بالزيت

تخبز لمدة 20 دقيقة حتىتصبح الحواف و السطح ذوي لون ذهبي

نخرجها من الفرن و نتركها لترتاح من 10 الى 15 دقيقه ثم نقلبها في طبق التقديم و نزينها باللوز و الزبيب