Albaloo Polo

albaloo polo saffron-infused rice topped with preserved cherries
Photo: Mikkel Vang
Prep Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
50 mins
6 to 8 Serves

A classic Persian side dish of buttery, saffron-infused rice layered with sour-cherry preserves. Traditionally Iranian cooks cloth-wrap the lid to absorb steam and create a crisp layer on the bottom of the rice (called tahdig). In this recipe the rice steams just long enough to finish cooking and become fluffy without crisping.


  • 2 cups basmati rice

  • Kosher salt

  • Large pinch of saffron (about 1/4 teaspoon)

  • 1 tablespoon scalding-hot water (160 to 180 degrees)

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 cup Sour-Cherry Preserves, drained in a fine-mesh sieve


  1. Cook rice in a large pot of salted water as you would pasta, boiling until just cooked through with some bite in center, 7 to 9 minutes. Drain in a fine-mesh sieve, then rinse with cool water; drain again. In a small bowl, steep saffron in hot water until liquid is bright orange, 5 minutes.

  2. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add one-third of cooked rice, spreading it to edges of pan in an even layer. Scatter half of preserves on top of rice, then poke 4 holes through rice with the bottom of a wooden spoon. Cut 1 tablespoon butter into small pieces; place on holes. Spoon half of remaining rice on top, followed by remaining preserves; poke 4 more holes and dot each with remaining 1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces. Stir saffron mixture into remaining rice; add to pot as final layer. Wrap lid with a clean kitchen towel and cover pot. Reduce heat to low and cook until rice is tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Fluff with a fork and season with salt; serve.

Cook's Notes

Use a wide saucepan with a tight-fitting lid for this dish.

Related Articles