Because the recipe can undergo change to fit different tastes, it can also be a winner with vegetarians if the meat is excluded.
Iranian dishes excel at making people who have never tried them fall in love at the first bite. The unique combination of spices and flavorings with a wide range of vegetables, herbs, fruit, grains, nuts, meat and most importantly rice only needs the wand of Iranian cuisine to perform magic and leave an explosion of unforgettable tastes in the mouth. The delectable smell, delicious look and perfectly pleasant taste make it almost impossible to resist them. To share the gastronomic delights of Iran, IFP has decided to file a series of mouth-watering recipes for Iranian dishes.
Adas Polo is a tasty Iranian rice dish with lentils. It can be served with different ingredients like dates, raisins and small meat balls or just fried minced beef flavored with spices, saffron or even tomato paste. Some prefer to add in a mixture of them as a layer among the layers of rice and lentils, while others spoon them as a topping onto the mixed rice on the serving dish. Because the recipe can undergo change to fit different tastes, it can also be a winner with vegetarians if the meat is excluded.
1. Four cups rice (400 grams)
2. Two cups lentils – Soak them for half an hour or so.
3. One cup raisins
4. Two to three large onions – The onions should be peeled and thinly sliced.
5. Two level teaspoons saffron –You will need a pestle and mortar to grind it into powder; the powder should not be prepared much in advance, because it will lose part of its aromatic smell. You had better brew it with a little hot water to have better color and aroma.
6. 300 grams minced beef
7. Two tablespoons tomato paste (optional)
8. Two heaped teaspoons cinnamon
10. Salt, ground black pepper and turmeric to taste
11. Two potatoes – Peel and cut them into round slices.
How to cook Adas Polo
1. Rinse the rice with lukewarm water a few times, then soak it for a few hours in water to which four tablespoons of salt has been added. Bring some water to a boil in a pot and then add some salt to it. Drain the salt water from the rice and add the rice to the boiling water. Leave the rice in the boiling water until it is al dente. The rice should be neither too hard nor too soft; it should be firm and slightly chewy. Avoid overcooking the rice. Strain the rice in a colander and then rinse it with water.
2. Parboil the lentils with some salt for less than 30 minutes. Drain water from the lentils and set them aside.
3. Drizzle oil into a pot over a medium heat, so that a thin layer of oil covers the bottom surface of it. When the oil gets hot, turn down the flame and place the round slices of potatoes at the bottom of the pot.
4. In a bowl, mix half a cup of brewed saffron with a small ladle of oil.
5. Add a few spatulas of the rice into the pot over the potato slices and cover it with a layer of lentils. Add a pinch of cinnamon over it and pour a few spoons of saffron and oil on top of them. Repeat layering until no rice and lentils are left. Wrap the lid in a piece of cloth and put it on the pot. The cloth won’t let the steam find its way out of the pot. It also absorbs drops of water formed as a result of condensation.
To help the steam form, turn up the heat for the first few minutes and then turn the flame down. Be careful not to burn the potato slices, because when the dish is ready, they should be crispy and golden. The mixed rice usually takes about an hour over a low flame to be cooked.
6. Fry the onions in a pan with salt, ground black pepper and turmeric until they turn golden brown. Add in the minced beef and fry it until it turns brown. Add three spoons of brewed saffron to it. The original recipe does not contain tomato paste, yet if you like, you can add it to the mixture and fry it until it turns deep red. Add some water to it and let it simmer until the meat is cooked. The final sauce should be thick.
7. Pour some oil in another pan and sauté the raisins over a low heat with three spoons of brewed saffron and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Remove it after a few minutes; it does not need to be fried.
8. Place the mixed rice on your serving dish and top it with the sauce and the raisins. You can serve the crispy potato slices as a side dish with your Adas Polo.