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Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Boil 10 cups of water with 2 tbsp salt in a cooking pot. Add basmati rice and lima beans. Boil at medium high to high heat for 4 to 5 minutes until rice grains are soft. Stir the rice while it is cooking. Drain rice in a colander and set aside.
Potato crust (optional): Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil or butter in oven proof dish such as Pyrex baking dish. Spread the oil or butter evenly and sprinkle half the salt, pepper and coriander/cumin seeds (if using).Next arrange the medium thick potato slices. Then sprinkle the rest of salt, pepper and cumin.
Spread a layer of rice and beans, followed by sprinkling a thin layer of dill weed. Mix the grated garlic and chives and sprinkle some of it.
Assemble the dill rice by making several alternating thin layers of rice, lima beans, dill weed and sprinkles of the garlic-chives mixture.
Finally top it with a rice layer. Pour 4 tbsp olive oil or melted butter all over and then sprinkle the saffron water.
Cover with a sheet of aluminum foil and seal well. Bake for an hour or more until steam builds up well. If making the crust (tahdig) it should be golden.
Transfer the baking dish from the oven and let it rest a few minutes. Take some scoops of the top layer of saffron colored rice and set it aside for garnish.
When the steam has released a little, gently mix the top layers of rice and dill and plate it on a serving dish. Arrange the potato slices all around and sprinkle the saffron rice for garnish.
Persian baghali polo goes well with a yogurt salad such as Persian yogurt dip with shallots.
You can make this same recipe in a cooking pot on stove or in a rice cooker (see the blog post and notes below).