Albaloo Polo (آلبالو پلو) is a famous Persian rice dish. Albaloo is the Persian word for sour cherry, and Polo is a rice cooking method in Persian cuisine. This food was originated in Azerbaijan parts of Iran, but nowadays it is cooked in central and northern Iran, more than Azerbaijan. It is a casual dish, and you cannot find it in official ceremonies. It is famous, but I cannot claim that it is accessible, too. Since it has a unique sweet taste, it has its unique fans. In the west of Iran, they usually cook it with the ground beef, but in the north and central regions, they use chicken. It is rare to find Albaloo Polo in restaurants. If you want to eat outside, you may need to search for the restaurants that serve this food before.
Different types of Albaloo Polo:
Albaloo Polo can have different types according to the meat; you are using. There are Albaloo Polo with meatballs or Albaloo Polo ba Morgh( with chicken). Serving it with chicken makes it look fancier. Therefore, if you are going to serve this food at a party, we recommend you to use chicken. In the north of Iran, it is typical to use other bird’s flesh, too.
Important Nutrition Facts:
Although the nutrition facts can deffer depend on the type of Albaloo Polo, on average, each 100 gr of this food has 286 Kcal. Moreover, it is an excellent source of carbohydrates since it contains a lot of rice. It has a notable amount of 78 gr water per 100 gr. You can get 3.49 mg vitamin E by consuming 100 gr Albaloo polo. It contains many necessary minerals such as 304 mg sodium, 8.10 mg calcium, 92 mg magnesium, and 16 mg potassium. It has low cholesterol and sugar overall.
Most ingredients used in cooking Albaloo Polo have vegetable sources. Therefore, it is not a big deal to make a vegetarian dish out of this food. All you have to do is omitting the meat. You can either add soybeans instead of chicken or add nothing at all.
Serving style of Albaloo Polo:
Iranians serve Albaloo Polo as the main dish for lunch or dinner. A bowl of light soup can be the right choice for an appetizer before this dish. Sabzi khordan, Lettuce salad, and Torshi(ترشی) are the side dishes that usually Iranians serve with this food. Since it has a sour taste itself, Shirazi Salad or any other sour dishes might not be proper next to this food. All drinks are welcomed along with this food. However, as always, Doogh(Persian yogurt drink) is the most suggested drink with Polo. You can also cook Tahdig (crust) along with the Polo and serve it next to the food.
What are the ingredients of Albaloo Polo?
Like all other Polos in Persian cuisine, the main ingredient is rice. Some vegetables and meat are added to the rice. In this food, the main auxiliary ingredient is sour cherry. Iranians cook this food in the spring and summer when fresh sour berries are available. They usually freeze sour berries in summer to cook this food in winter. The other ingredient is meat, which depends on the region, and its type can vary. The most popular Albaloo Polo is cooked with meatballs made out of ground beef. Moreover, you need sugar to adjust the taste of this food, since the cherries might make a significant sour taste. The other ingredient is pistachio, which is added to the dish in the final levels of cooking.
Cooking process of Albaloo Polo:
You are cooking a Polow, so the primary step is to soak the rice. You have to soak the rice for some time. The soaking time might differ depending on the type of rice. Then you need to boil the sour cherries in water and with sugar. Whether you are cooking it with ground beef or chicken, you have to cook the meat separately. If you are using ground beef, you should make small meatballs(کوفته فلفلی) and fry them in oil. If you are making it with chicken, you need to cook chicken separately and then add it to the mixture of rice and sourberries.
This recipe is adequate for four people. The preparation time is about 30 minutes. The cooking time is one hour.
- 3 cup Persian or Basmati rice
- 1½ lb sour cherries stoneless (you can use dried or froze cherries, too)
- 1 lb ground beef (or chicken breast)
- 4 tablespoon sugar
- 2 onions
- ⅓ cup liquid saffron
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoon turmeric
- ½ cup of vegetable oil
- ½ cup sliced pistachio (optional)
- 1 Lavash bread for the crust (optional)
- Soak the rice and prepare it in Polo style cooking
- Pour 4 cups of water into a pot and add cherries
- Add sugar to the cherries
- Cook them on low heat, until it starts to boil
- Shred the onion into the ground meat and make small meatballs (if you are using chicken, you should cook it separately with onions and the spices)
- Fry the meatballs with oil and add turmeric and salt and pepper
- Rinse the rice after its boiled and softened
- Rinse the cherries
- Pour some oil into the pot and pout the bread at the bottom of the pot
- Mix the rice and berries and saffron and pout it on the crust
- Cover the pot’s lid with a cloth and let it cook for 1 hour
- Saute pistachios with a little oil and add it to the rice while serving
- Pout the rice into a dish and place the meatballs around it
- Use the pistachios as a topping
- Do not pour out the cherries’ juice. You can use it as a drink by adding some water.
- Taste the cherries before adding sugar and adjust the sweet taste up to your favor.
- For a better taste, you can use melted butter in saute the pistachios.
- If you want your dish to look pink, add some of the cherry juice (½ cup)to the rice.