Persian Polo with Raisins And Lentils

This fragrant rice dish requires a little patience but the reward is a delicious, uniquely flavored and textured dish. This is a great and inexpensive dish for entertaining. Msount the rice high on a platter for a lovely presentation.

Serving size

1 cup of recipe


8 servings

Prep time: 1hr 0min
Cook time: 1hr 30min
Total: 2hr 30min


2 cups basmati rice

½ cup lentils, dried

4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter, unsalted and divided

1 cup raisins

6 tablespoons water, divided

1 tablespoon olive oil

1½ teaspoons saffron threads

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

⅔ cups almonds, slivered

Nutrition Info

Makes: 8 servings  Serving size: 1 cup of recipe




12 g

Saturated Fat

4 g

Trans Fat

<1 g


15 mg


52 g


12 g


4 g


7 g


81 mg


49 mg


134 mg


337 mg


  1. Rinse rice repeatedly under cool water in a medium bowl until the water runs clear, to remove excess starch.
  2. Cover rice with water,1 inch above the rice and soak for an hour.
  3. Rinse lentils and place in a separate bowl. Cover with water, 1 inch above the lentils and soak for an hour.
  4. Melt half of the butter in a small skillet over low heat. Add raisins and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. Fill a large pot two-thirds of the way with water and bring to a boil.
  6. Drain the rice and lentils. Add both to the boiling water.
  7. Reduce heat and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until partially cooked.
  8. Drain into a colander.
  9. Add 2 tablespoons of water, 1 tablespoon of the remaining butter and olive oil to the large pot. Heat mixture until the butter is melted.
  10. Ladle the drained rice and lentils over the melted butter mixture.
  11. Cut the rest of the butter into 4 pieces and dot it on top of the rice.
  12. Wrap a kitchen towel around the inside of the pot lid and tie the corners around the handle to secure it.
  13. Place the towel-wrapped lid onto the pot to form a seal. Cook for 15 minutes over medium-high heat. Reduce to low heat and cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  14. Reheat the raisins in a small saucepan. Mix the saffron, the remaining water and salt in a bowl. Add the saffron-water mixture and almonds to the raisins.
  15. Heat the combined mixture in a small saucepan for 2 minutes.
  16. To serve, spoon half of the rice and lentil onto a large platter, pour half the raisin mixture over it. Combine and repeat with the remaining rice and raisin mixture.
  17. Scrape the browned, crusty rice, or tadig, from the bottom of the pot. Place on the platter and enjoy.
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To make it easier to loosen the crunchy rice crust from the bottom of the pot, fill your sink with cold water. Set the pot in the cold water for 5 minutes after you scoop the rice onto the platter.