Main course

Kalam Polo Recipe

Kalam Polo with Salad Shirazi

Kalam Polo (Kalam Polo Shirazi,کلم پلو, کلم پلو شیرازی ) is a famous traditional dish from Persian cuisine. This food has originated in the Fars province and the city of Shiraz. In central Iran, people mostly cook and eat this food.

As you know, Polo or Polow is a kind of rice that contains other ingredients such as meat and vegetables. In Kalam polo, rice combines with ground meat and cabbage or kohlrabi. Kalam is the Persian term for cabbage.

This dish is not an official food. You can serve it at casual parties, but mostly it is used in daily diet. You can find Kalam Polo in restaurants only in Shiraz and some other cities.

Different types of Kalam Polo:

There are not many types of Kalam polo available. The difference can be made by changing the ingredients. For example, using kohlrabi, instead of cabbage can make a different taste and type.

Kalam Polo Nutrition facts:

It has 179 kcal per 100 gr. Since rice is the main ingredient, it can be an excellent source for carbohydrates. Cabbage is a natural source of water. This food is an excellent source of protein because of the meat. It contains the most vitamins and minerals. It has 16.53 mg vitamin C per 100 gr and 2 mg vitamin E per 100gr, all of which make it an excellent food for the immune system of the body.

Serving style of Kalam Polo:

It is served as the main course for dinner or lunch. For serving Kalam polo, you can either mix the meat with rice or place the meatballs around or at the top of the dish of rice.

The best side dish next to Kalampolo is its fellow resident, Salad Shirazi. However, Sabzi Khordan, Torshi, and other salads are welcomed next to this food.

For beverage, as always, Doogh (Persian yogurt drink) is the best choice, but you can choose and serve whatever you like.

Vegetarian tip:

For making a vegetarian Kalam polo, you can replace the meat with soy. You need to soak and cook the soy with tomato paste and spices and mix it with the rice and cabbage. Or you can omit the meat, totally and cook the cabbage and rice without meat. If you have only one vegetarian member in your family, I recommend you to cook the food with meatballs and serve them separately for easier cooking.

What are the ingredients?

This dish is a Polow. So the main ingredient is rice. The best rice to cook Kalam polo with is Persian Domsiah rice. However, if you cannot find Persian rice, you can use basmati rice. Another main ingredient is cabbage. Some people use kohlrabi, which is a subcategory of cabbage in Iran, too. And finally, you need ground meat for cooking this dish. Sometimes fibrous beef can replace the ground meat. Some dried aromatic herbs such as leek, basil, and parsley are sometimes added to the dish. It is possible to add either a mix of them or each of them singularly.

Cooking process:

To cook Kalam Polo, you have to prepare the rice in Polo style. Soak it for some hours, then boil it and rinse it. Then you need to boil the cabbage, which is the basement of the food. Of course, you need to chop or slice the cabbage before cooking. Then you fry the meat and add it to cabbage. You can either make small meatballs out of the ground meat or use it directly.

After the cabbage and meat sauce is ready, you can add it to your rice.


This recipe is adequate for four people. The preparation time is about 5 hours(considering the rice’s soaking time) and the cooking time is about 1.5 hours.

Kalam Polo

Kalam polo

Kalam polo is a Persian dish made with rice, cabbage, and ground meat. To cook Kalan Polo, you need to prepare the rice in Polow style and add the cabbage and meat sauce to it.
5 from 2 votes
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Persian
Keyword: Kalam polo
Prep Time: 5 hours
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 179kcal
Cost: $15


  • 3 cups Persia or Basmati rice
  • ½ lb ground beef
  • 1 small white cabbage (dicedor sliced)
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoon brewed saffron
  • Potato (for crust)
  • Water
  • ½ cup dried herbs including basil and parsley and leek (optional)


  • Boil the sliced cabbage in water.
  • Pour some oil into a pan and fry the diced onion.
  • Fry the ground meat or meatballs with the onions.
  • Add turmeric, pepper, and salt to meat.
  • Add one tablespoon saffron.
  • Add tomato paste to the sauce.
  • Rinse the cabbage after its softened and add it to the meat.
  • Boil and rinse the rice for final cooking.
  • Mix the herbs with rice.
  • Pour some oil into the pot.
  • Pour one tablespoon saffron.
  • Place the sliced potatoes for the crust.
  • Mix the rice with the cabbage sauce and pout it on the potatoes.
  • Cover the pot’s lid with a piece of cloth or tissue.
  • Cook for 1 hour on low or medium heat.


Uniqop’s advice:

  • Adding some dried herbs such as scallions, parsley, or basil van make your dish more aromatic
  • Some caramelised fried onions as a topping can make your food look better and adds to its taste.
  • Using some Advieh Polo (rose, cinnamon and caraway seed grind mixture ) makes your dish tastier.
  • Using butter instead of oil adds to the aroma and taste of food.


Calories: 179kcal

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