Seattle has friendship ties to a number of cities around the globe. The Emerald City is shining a special spotlight on its sister city in Iran throughout the month of November.

Cathia Geller, board president of the Seattle-Isfahan Sister City Association, and Chef Omid Roustaei from PCC Cooks spotlighted some of Iran's cultural and culinary history.

Connect with the Seattle-Isfahan Sister City Association on Facebook.

Special dishes and discounts will be offered during November at these businesses:

Here are a couple of Chef Omid's recipes:

Polo ba Zaferoon (Steamed Basmati Saffron Rice)

Cook time: 50 mins. Serves 4


  • 2 cups of white basmati rice
  • 8 cups of water
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoon butter or ghee
  • 1⁄2 cup water
  • Pinch of ground Saffron dissolved in 2 tablespoons of hot water


  1. Wash the rice thoroughly, and set aside to soak for an hour (optional).
  2. In a large covered pot bring water and salt to a boil.
  3. Add the rinsed rice and boil on high heat uncovered for about 8 minutes or until the rice has slightly softened.
  4. Drain the rice in a colander and set aside while you prepare the pan.
  5. Add 2 tablespoon of ghee to the pot over low heat to begin melting the ghee.
  6. In a small bowl mix 2 cups of lightly cooked rice with 1 tablespoon of saffron-water mixture, gently mix and spread evenly in the bottom of the pot. This will be the crispy rice referred to as Tah-dig.
  7. Pour the remainder of the rinsed rice to the pot and lightly fluff with a fork.
  8. Cut up the remainder 2 tablespoons of ghee into pieces and evenly spread over the top of the rice.
  9. Pour the additional 1⁄2 cup of water evenly over the top of the rice.
  10. Wrap the lid with a clean towel and place on top of the pot. This will allow the rice to steam.
  11. Allow the rice to steam over a medium to medium-low heat for about 40-45 minutes.
  12. Pour the remaining 1 tablespoon saffron water over the top of the rice.
  13. Turn off the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Polo (Basmati rice - Persian rice cooker method)

Cook time: 75 minutes. Serves 4


  • 2 cups of white basmati rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon butter or ghee or olive oil


  1. Wash the rice thoroughly, and set aside to soak for an hour (optional).
  2. Put all the ingredients in the rice cooker, gently stir and cover with the lid and press start.
  3. Once the rice cooker has finished cooking, remove the inner pot with pot holders and set on the counter.
  4. Place a small tray over the pot and carefully flip the pan over so the crispy rice (tahdig) can be presented.

Khoreshe-e Kadu Halvai-o Alu ba Morgh (Braised Butternut Squash and Chicken with golden dried plums and Walnuts)

Preparation time: 15 minutes. Cooking time: 90 minutes. Serves 4


  • 3 tablespoons ghee, divided
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 medium butternut squash, cut into 2-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4-6 chicken pieces (bone-in and skin-on preferred)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups unsalted chicken broth
  • 2-4 tablespoons sugar
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 cup dried Persian golden plums or 1 cup pitted prunes
  • Pinch of ground saffron dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water


  1. In a dutch oven, over medium heat sauté the walnuts in 1 tablespoon of ghee for 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. To the same pot add an additional tablespoon of ghee and sauté the butternut squash for 15 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside
  3. Using the same pot, add 1 tablespoon of ghee and lightly sauté the onion and the chicken pieces for about 5 minutes. Add the cinnamon, turmeric, cloves, salt, and pepper and sauté for an additional minute.
  4. Pour in the chicken broth, cover and cook over low heat for 30 minutes.
  5. Once the chicken is tender, add sugar, lime juice, prunes and the sauteed butternut squash cubes, cover and cook over low heat for an additional 30 minutes.
  6. Pour in the saffron water, gently stir and transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle the walnuts over the top and serve hot.

Recipes by Omid Roustaei, 2017