Persian Style Rice with Tart Cherries

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steamed rice with sour cherries

Albalu Polo

Looking for a unique rice recipe with a twist? Try Basmati rice steamed with sour cherries for a sweet and tangy taste. Great tasting vegan rice dish - perfect for vegetarians.

Very good source of Vitamin A and Iron, also a good source of Dietary Fiber and Manganese.

Albalu mean 'cherry' and Polo means 'steamed rice' in the Persian language or Farsi (Arabic pronunciation of Parsi).


  1. Basmati rice - 3 cups
  2. Sour cherries (dried) - 2 cups soak in saltwater or lemon juice
  3. Salt - 1 teaspoon
  4. Ground saffron - 1/4 teaspoon (optional)
  5. Sugar - 2 tablespoons
  6. Cinnamon - 1 teaspoon
  7. Cooking oil - 3 teaspoons
  8. Butter - 1 tablespoon
  9. Water


Wash and Boil Rice

  1. Rinse rice in warm water several times to remove excess starch.
  2. Fill large pot with water (two to three times the amount of rice), add salt, add 1 teaspoon of oil, add rice, and bring to a boil.
  3. Stir occasionally to prevent kernels from sticking together. Cook until rice is no longer crunchy but still firm.
  4. Drain rice in a colander, then rinse with cold water.

Steam Rice and Sour Cherries:

  1. Rinse and drain all water from sour cherries.
  2. Place sour cherries in a large bowl and thoroughly mix with rice, sugar and cinnamon.
  3. Place 2 teaspoons of oil in a large pot, if you like, melt some butter for extra flavoring, then sprinkle rice into pot using a large spoon. Form a mound shape by avoiding the sides of the pot.
  4. Use the handle of a wooden spoon to perforate the mound all the way to the bottom of the pot, in several places.
  5. Before covering the pot, wrap a clean dry towel around the lid which will absorb excess moisture to prevent the rice from becoming soggy.
  6. Cook rice on very low heat for 45 minutes before serving.
  7. To ensure a golden crust will form at the bottom of the pot, cook rice on medium-low heat for 15 minutes, then reduce heat and cook for another 20 to 30 minutes before serving.

Saffron and Butter:

  1. Make a watery solution by dissolving saffron with a bit of warm water, then blend with remaining butter.
  2. Mix saffron thoroughly with a cup of rice until all the kernels turn a bright yellow.
  3. Place rice in a platter and sprinkle saffron flavored rice over top.
How to prevent kebabs from rolling

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