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Polo (Persian Rice)

Polo (Persian Rice)

There are a few different styles that are used to make rice. There is the style where you strain the rice after it cooks a bit and then allow it to cook more after it steams (or as we say “dam mikeshe”). Another style is where the rice is not strained, but cooks with the water and once the water evaporates the rice is allowed to cook longer after it steams.

I typically strain my rice and here is the recipe I will share with you.

Video Recipe:
[youtube id=”YR_TbGfZQDw#t=22″ width=”600″ height=”350″]

Regular Recipe:

Ingredients (4-6 people):
4-5 cups rice
oil or butter
saffron (optional) –this would be used to give color to a small amount of rice that will then decorate the top of your rice when you serve it

Wash your rice well and then pour cool water onto the rice and add salt to the water. Allow the rice to soak for at least 2 hours in this salt-water.

Fill a pot (medium to large size pot) halfway with water. Place the pot on the stove burner and set the temperature to high. Once the water comes to a boil add the rice along with the salt-water into the pot. Keep the temperature on high and allow the rice to come to a boil. While the rice is boiling you may wish to remove some of the foam with a spoon. As the rice begins to rise and come to a boil you can add a bit of cold water to it. This will elongate the rice. If you do this allow the rice to come to a boil again (still remove foam). This time when the rice comes to a boil empty the rice into a strainer.

Set the pot back on the stove top with the temperature still set to high (if you want you can bring the temperature to medium-high if you plan on adding lavash or potatoes for the tah dig). Add water and oil to the pot and allow them to heat up. Note: if you do plan on using lavash or potatoes for the tah dig add a bit more oil or butter. Once the oil and water is heated empty the rice in the strainer into the pot. Use a large spoon to gather the rice in the center of the pot. Place a cloth or towel on the lid of the pot and cover the pot.

Once steam begins escaping the sides of the lid bring the temperature down to low. Note: don’t bring the temperature done the moment steam begins escaping…wait until its escaping from a few locations all around and at a faster rate before turning the heat to low.

Depending on the amount of tah dig you want allow the rice to cook for at least 40 minutes to over 1 hour.

There are a variety of different Polo recipes that follow this basic process with a few added steps due to added ingredients. Also, most of the khoreshts (stews) go well with this type of Polo (rice).


  1. Hiya,

    Just wondering the method used with the saffron to give that top layer of yellow rice. I’m very new to this style of cooking so please forgive me if it’s a really stupid question.


    • Hi,

      You will want to grind up the saffron and then add some hot water to it (just a little) so that it slightly dissolves. Then when your rice is prepared add a few tablespoons of the rice to the liquid saffron and mix together. This will give you the yellow rice to decorate the top of your white rice with.

      Hope this helps.

      Thanks :)

  2. I like how you give out the instructions of how you do it but you’re not really mentioning how long for each step to cook the rice until towards the end. How long do u have the rice in the boiling water before straining it?

    • When you bring the water to a boil and add your rice you wont want to go far away and will want to keep an eye on the rice. I allow the rice to come to a boil and before it foams up and spills over the top I will strain it. It shouldnt take more than 3-5 minutes before your rice is ready to strain. I dont mention a time because it all depends on when you add your rice to the water, if you are going to add cold water on top as it comes to a boil prior to straining, and how soft you want the rice to get. A good test is to take a rice out of the water and bite down in the center, if its slightly soft then thats a good time to strain the rice. Hope that helps.

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