Persian cuisine summed up in two words: sweet and sour! This meal is simple to throw together and the results are absolutely phenomenal.
One of my good friends comes from a Persian background and I give her 100% credit for introducing me to the delights of Persian food! The flavors are so wonderfully complimentary and I was absolutely blown away the first time I tried it. This dish specifically ended up being one of my go-to favorite dishes, and when I finally decided to try to make it myself, I was truly amazed at how well it came together, and how I made it taste almost exactly like it’s made at my favorite Persian restaurant.
How to make Adas Polo
I don’t even know how to explain this dish. It is simply amazing and undoubtedly:
Cook the rice and lentils
The base of this dish is a delightful dance between two common ingredients: rice and lentils. Cook both until they are al dente and set aside. If you’re like me and want to save some time, prep these ingredients ahead of time so they’re ready to be thrown in once the remaining ingredients have been cooked. If you opt into doing this, it will reduce your cooking time to about 20 minutes or less. Win-win.
Sauté the remaining ingredients
The remaining ingredients that pull this dish together are the onions, raisins, turmeric, cinnamon, and the costly flower stigma, saffron. Begin by sauteeing the onion in a dash of neutral-flavored oil over medium heat. Once they are soft and translucent, it’s time for the real flavor. Add in the raisins, as well as the turmeric, cinnamon, and salt.
Make the saffron rice
The saffron rice is where the identity and flavor of this dish live. Begin by finely crushing the saffron strands until the consistency of a fine powder is reached. Crushing it into a fine powder will make it easier to dissolve in water, while the water will help it travel throughout the rice more evenly. When I buy saffron it usually comes in a small jar, and I just crush it up with the top of my quarter teaspoon. Combine the powder with three tablespoons of warm water until the saffron has dissolved, and then fold it into the rice.
Combine all ingredients
Now is the time to combine everything. In the same pan where the onions are cooking, add the saffron rice, lentils, and one additional tablespoon of oil and mix it all together! Cook this until the rice and lentils reach the consistency you enjoy while being sure not to overcook either. That’s it! Super easy, right?!?!
Serve this rice warm and topped with a spritz of lemon juice and sumac if you happen to have it on hand! Pair it with another persian dish such as Gormeh Sabzi, Fesenjan, or a simple protein such as tofu or seitan.
I like to add a decent amount of both sumac and lemon juice at the end and trust me on this one. The element of tartness that both bring is such a fantastic compliment to the sweetness of this dish.
Storing & reheating
Store this dish in an airtight container for up to a week in the refrigerator or for up to three months in the freezer. This dish does a great job at maintaining its structure and flavor profile even after it’s been stored for a while, which makes it a great choice for meal prepping or just simply making it in a large batch to munch on over a couple of days. Reheat by simply adding the leftovers to a small sauté pan or saucepan over medium heat until warm.
Did you try this recipe? If so, let’s hear about it!
- 2 cups rice
- 1 cup lentils
- ½ cup raisins
- 1 onion diced
- ¼ tsp saffron pressed into a fine powder
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- 3 tbsp avo oil divided
- Cook the rice and lentils separately until al dente, then set them aside.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil on medium heat, add the onions, and cook them until they’re soft
- Once the onions are soft, add the raisins, turmeric, cinnamon and salt. Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, dissolve the powdered saffron in 3 tbsp of hot water and then fold into the rice.
- Add the saffron rice, lentils, and remaining 2 tbsps of oil to the pan with the onions/raisins. Cook until the rice and lentils reach desired tenderness.
- Top with however much sumac and lemon juice you’d like!