Adas Polo (Rice With Lentils) from Iran

Makes about 3 Persian or 6 Western servings.


  • 2 cups long grain brown rice
  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • potato or eggplant, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons corn or peanut oil
  • 1/4 cup of raisins, chopped currants, or chopped dates
  • Procedure

    For this recipe, use a medium (about 2.5 litres or 2.5 quarts) pot which has a lid.

    1. Rinse the rice several times in warm water to remove the surface starch. Then soak in lots of cold water, in the refrigerator, overnight. Drain the rice and set aside.
    2. Bring 5 cups of water to a rapid boil. Then add the rice and lentils. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the rice from sticking together. Drain the rice and lentils. Then mix in the raisins, currants, or dates.
    3. Spread the oil evenly on the bottom of the pot. Then cover with one layer of sliced potatoes or eggplant. Sprinkle the rice mixture over the potatoes or eggplant. It should be heaped in the middle and not touch the sides of the pot. Cover the underside of the pot lid with a clean dish towel, and place the lid tightly on the pot. The towel absorbs extra moisture which otherwise would drip back onto the rice and make it soggy.
    4. Cook the rice mixture for 10 minutes over medium heat, and then reduce the heat to allow the rice to steam for another 40 minutes. The heat can then be turned down very low to keep the rice warm before serving.
    5. When ready to serve, level the rice and invert the pot over a large serving dish. The polo (rice mixture) is then served upside down, with a golden potato/eggplant crust (called "tahdig") on top.


    Use brown basmati rice. Replace the potatoes/eggplant with slices of whole wheat pita bread. Add 1/4 cup of slivered almonds at the end of step 2. Double the quantities and cook in a large and wide non-stick pot.

    Contributed by: Walter Brown, ab684 April, 1995