You wonder what the difference between Chelow and Polow is? The difference is huge! Chelow is simply white rice which is usually made along with Khoresht, stew. Polow is rice that is usually mixed and cooked with vegetables, herbs, and/or meat.
When making polow we follow the same exact steps in making Chelow as far as the intial cooking of the rice goes. The only difference is that in Chelow the rice is steamed by itself whereas when making polow we layer the rice.
I say this over and over again, making Persian rice is an art. It requires patience and a couple of practice runs. Here are the basic few steps in the initial cooking of rice for Polow.
Scoop out as many cups of rice as needed for your recipe in a bowl.
Wash rice several times until water runs clear.
Soak rice with salt either over night or at least about an hour. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t soak, but it does make a difference.
Bring water to a boil. Add salt. Place rice in, minus the water that it was soaked in. Keep an eye on it, as soon as the water starts boiling again it should take about 10 minutes for the rice to cook.
While the rice cooks gently scoop the rice from the bottom of the pot and bring to the surface and release. Do this step several times. NOTE: Do not stir.
Place a colander in the sink. You might want to choose a colander where the holes are small so that the rice won’t escape.
Check the rice to make sure it is cooked. It should be soft and cooked but not mushy. Drain rice in colander.
Rinse with cold water to stop cooking process.
And voilà! Now you are ready to proceed to the next step of Polow making!