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Rice with Green Lentils, Raisins and Dates – Persian Style – Adas Polo

Adas Polo or Adas Polow

Cuisine: Persian / Iranian
Region: Common

The Adas Polo is another Persian classic recipe that seldom needs further introduction. The ingredients are available all year long. There are many, many variations of this recipe; some recipes, like this one, are meatless, some use lamb, others use beef, some employ a different mix of spices – the variations are… endless.

Serves 4 – 6
Cooking time: 35 min
You need: a skillet, a colander, a rice-cooker and a pot
Notes: It requires soaking for 2 hrs prior to cooking


  • 1 + 1⁄2 cups lentils, soaked
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 Tsp salt
  • 1/4 Tsp pepper
  • 1/2Tsp turmeric
  • 1/4Tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 Tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4Tsp cardamom
  • 1/8 Tsp cumin
  • 1/2Tsp saffron, dissolved in 2 Tbsp of water – use a pestle and mortar to crush the saffron before you dissolve it in the water.
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 3/4cup dates, pitted and chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted. If available do prefer Ghee.
  • Optional: 1 potato, sliced into thin rounds


Phase 1

  1. Wash the rice and soak it for 2 hours (see here)
  2. Wash the lentils very well, leave them to soak for 2 hours and drain them.
  3. Wash the raisins and pat-dry them on a kitchen paper.
  4. Take a large saucepan, add salt, water and the lentils.
  5. Bring it to a boil then reduce the fire to low and simmer the lentils for 20 to 30 minutes, or until they are tender.
  6. Take a colander, drain the water from the lentils and set them aside.

Phase 2

  1. In a skillet, saute the onions and garlic in olive oil until they are golden.
  2. Add the raisins, the dates and the spices – except for the saffron.
  3. Mix well and set aside.

Phase 3

  1. Cook the rice. Most of us use rice-cookers, so…
  2. Add the rice in the rice cooker with how ever much water it requires. (Usually 2 measures of water for one measure of rice. Brown rice needs more water.
  3. Add a pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil.
  4. After it’s done, transfer the rice to a large bowl.

Phase 4

  1. Take a pot.
  2. Add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pot.
  3. Add a layer of potato slices.
  4. On top of the potatoes add a layer of rice.
  5. On top of the rice add a layer of the lentil-raisin-date mix.
  6. Keep on going; the top layer should be rice.
  7. Cover the pot and cook on medium fire for 10 minutes or so.
  8. Drizzle the melted butter and the saffron-water over the rice.
  9. Cover the top of the pot with a towel to prevent steam from escaping, and put a lid on top of the towel.
  10. Cook on low fire for about 30 minutes.
  11. At the end of the process the potatoes on the bottom are going to be crispy and the rice will be steamed and infused with the aromas of your spices.
  12. Ready to serve.

Notes Rice with Green Lentils, Raisins and Dates Persian Style – Adas Polo

  • Phases 1, 2 and 3 can be done simultaneously: put the lentils to simmer, put the rice to cook and saute the onions and the rest while the rest is cooking.
  • In Phase 4 it is common practice to arrange the layers like a pyramid, so that the steam comes out of the sides.
  • The crispy bottom is called Tahdig or Tadig and is much prized in Iran.
  • Using a potato is optional – but it does make for a very nice crisp. 🙂

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