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Adas Polo (Persian-style Lentil and Rice)

Adas Polo is a dish that holds a special place in my heart. It evokes fond memories of family gatherings, particularly during Ramadan or when the chilly weather calls for a warm, hearty meal. This Persian-style lentil and rice dish, laden with minced meat, Bam dates, raisins, and crispy onions, create a symphony of flavours that dances on your taste buds. The harmonious balance of sweet and savoury notes, elevated by the luxurious touch of saffron and rose water, never fails to amaze me and everyone who savours it.

Preparing Adas Polo is a labour of love that I take immense pleasure in. I carefully wash the rice, soak the lentils, and layer the ingredients in the pot.  The aroma that fills my kitchen as the dish cooks is a warm and comforting reminder of the times spent with my loved ones, the laughter and stories we shared over a steaming plate of Adas Polo. As I share this cherished recipe with you, I hope it brings as much joy and warmth to your family gatherings as it has to mine.

Adas Polo

Basic Ingredients for Adas Polo

Basmati Rice: Used as the main ingredient in the pilaf, it is washed, soaked, and cooked until parboiled before being layered with the lentils and beef mixture.

Green Lentils: Cooked and layered with the rice, they provide protein and fibre to the dish.

Vegetable Oil: Used for cooking and frying, it is added to the pot when boiling the rice.

Butter: Used to flavour the rice and add richness to the dish.

Saffron: It adds a distinct flavour and a golden colour to the rice.

Onions: Sautéed and added to the minced beef mixture, they provide flavour and texture.

Minced Beef: Seasoned with a blend of spices, it is cooked until browned and added as a topping to the rice and lentil pilaf.

Cardamom Powder: A spice added to the minced beef mixture for flavour.

Coriander Powder: A spice added to the minced beef mixture for flavour.

Cumin Powder: A spice added to the minced beef mixture for flavour.

Cinnamon Powder: A spice added to the minced beef mixture for flavour.

Turmeric Powder: A spice added to the minced beef mixture for flavour and colour.

Black Pepper Powder: A spice added to the minced beef mixture for flavour.

Rose Water: Added to the minced beef mixture for a subtle floral note.

Red Onions: Thinly sliced and deep-fried, they are used as a garnish for the finished dish.

Bam Dates: Chopped and sautéed with raisins, they are used as a garnish for the finished dish.

Black Raisins: Added to the Bam dates and sautéed for a sweet and fruity flavour.

Cinnamon: Added to the Bam dates and raisins for a warm and spicy flavour.

alternative ingredients

Lentils: You can use other types of lentils, such as brown or red lentils, instead of green lentils.

Minced Beef: You can use minced lamb, chicken or turkey instead of beef.

Bam Dates: You can use Medjool dates or any other type of dates as a substitute.

Raisins: You can use other dried fruits like cranberries, apricots or figs instead of raisins.

Preparation Tips for Adas Polo

  • Soaking the rice in salted water before cooking helps to season the rice and improves its texture.
  • Be gentle when rinsing the rice to avoid breaking the grains.
  • Parboiling the rice ensures that it cooks evenly and remains fluffy.
  • Use a non-stick pot to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom.
  • To make the crispy onions, you can slice them thinly and fry them in vegetable oil until golden brown.
  • Cook the meat until it is fully browned to ensure it is cooked through.

Serving Tips for Adas Polo

  • Prepare the fried onions, bam dates and raisins separately ahead of time.  You can assemble the final dish just before serving.
  • Serve the dish hot or warm, straight from the pot.

storage tips

  • Adas Polo can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
  • Reheat the dish in the microwave or on the stove with a little bit of water to keep it moist.

Adas Polo

5 from 1 vote
Servings: 6 servings


  • 3 cups basmati rice
  • salt
  • cups green lentils
  • vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup butter
  • a pinch of ground saffron

Minced Beef Mixture

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 500 g minced beef
  • ½ tsp cardamom powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • a pinch of ground saffron
  • 2 tsp rose water
  • 2 potatoes, thinly sliced


  • 2 red onions, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 12 Bam Dates deseeded and chopped
  • 1 cup black raisins
  • 1 tsp cinnamon


  • Wash and rinse the rice with cold water until the water runs clear. Soak the rice in 6 cups of cold water, add 6 tablespoons of salt and set aside for a couple of hours. Drain but don’t rinse the rice. Make sure that you don’t use your hand or a utensil during this process, as basmati rice is very delicate and can easily break.
  • In a large non-stick pot, add 6–8 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, and bring to a boil. Add the drained rice and lentils to the boiling water; cook them for about 7 minutes until the rice is parboiled or al dente—the grain needs to be soft from the outside and firm in the centre. Drain the rice in a colander and reserve on the side.
  • On medium–high heat, melt some of the butter. Add a layer of sliced potatoes on the base of the pot.  Gently add the parboiled lentils and rice over the potatoe, then pull the rice from the side to the centre of the pot in the shape of a dome. Make three holes in the layers of the rice with the handle of a spatula or wooden spoon – this allows the steam to circulate when cooking to ensure that the rice fully cooks through.
  • In a small cup mix half a cup of hot water with 3 tablespoons of butter and a pinch of saffron, and sprinkle the mixture over the rice. Once the rice starts to steam, wrap the pot lid with a towel and then reduce the heat to low (this absorbs all the excess condensed liquid and allows the rice to become fluffy);cook for about 45–50 minutes.
  • In a medium-sized pot, on medium heat, sauté the onions with a drizzle of vegetable oil until golden. Add the minced meat and season with cardamom powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, cinnamon powder, turmeric powder, black pepper powder, salt, a pinch of ground saffron and rose water. Cook until the meat is browned.
  • To prepare the garnish, deep-fry the onions in a medium-sized pot until they are crispy and golden brown. Keep aside. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and sauté the raisin and Bam dates until it has softened. Season with a sprinkle of cinnamon powder and keep to the side.
  • Serve the rice on a large platter, top with the minced beef mixture and garnish with dates, raisins and crispy onions.

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Recipe Rating


  • Hessa

    5 stars
    Thank you for sharing ❤️

  • Mariam

    Hi, can you please clarify something?First the recipe says “Add the drained rice AND lentils to the boiling water; cook them…”. But then further along the recipe says “Begin to layer the pot with a third of the parboiled rice, followed by a layer of half of the lentils…”. My confusion is that the first direction is to cook rice and lentils together, but the next is to layer them separately. How can both things be true? Thank you in advance.

    • Zahra Abdalla

      Hi Mariam, thank you for your message. Please excuse the typo, I will adjust. I simplified the recipe but the steps were not adjusted. After you parboil the rice and lentil together, you will just need to add in the pot to steam cook.

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