Estamboli Polou

Estamboli Polou is a versatile all time fav in our family. For lunch or dinner its always  a hit, especially with children. There are many variations so you can vary the ingredients to suit your own taste, use up left overs or create your own unique combination.  Some cooks use minced meat or lamb but by leaving meat out, you have a perfect vegetarian meal  too.  In the recipe below I have added chilli to spice it up a little. The method remains the same whatever ingredients you use.  You can’t go wrong.

This recipe serves 4-5 servings.


  • 3 cups of basmati rice thoroughly washed
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 large potatoe diced
  • A handful of green beans cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 beefsteak tomatoe or a few smaller tomatoes chopped, alternatively you can use a tin of tomatoes
  • 1 green chilli chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 3 tablespoons of tomatoe purée
  • 1 garlic clove ( optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup of saffron infused water
  • Boiling water
  • a little vegetable or olive oil
  • a desert spoon of butter.


  • thoroughly wash the rice until the water runs clear. No need to pre soak
  • clean and chop all your ingredients.
  • Prepare your saffron infusion
  • fill up the  kettle and put it on so that you have hot water available when you need it.
  • you will need one large pan with a lid


  1. Gently fry the chopped onions and potatoes in a little oil until they begin to turn golden
  2. add the turmeric and stir up
  3. add the chopped tomatoes, green beans, chilli and garlic, stir up and allow to cook for a few minutes
  4. add the tomatoe purée and stir
  5. add the saffron infused water and stir
  6. add some salt.  I recommend a teaspoon but if you like your food saltier go ahead and add more.
  7. Give it all a good stir and allow to bubble away for a few minutes.
  8. Finally add the water. This is the tricky bit. You’re aiming for a slightly sticky end result but not too sticky so begin by adding 3/4 pint of hot water and topping it up as needed. Keep your eye on it now and monitor the amount of water the rice has to cook in. The rice needs to expand in length without becoming sticky so use your instinct and add more water as needed.
  9. when the rice has begun to expand add a desert spoon of butter or ghee and place a covered lid on the pan.
  10. cook on a low heat for about 1 hour. You can check it from time to time and add a little more butter or ghee as you like.

Serving suggestion:   salad, shirazi salad, kebabs, natural yoghurt, herbs and bread. Or enjoy it just as it is


One thought on “Estamboli Polou

  1. dear javaneh, greetings and congrats on your site, i went through the whole and jotted down many recipes.
    my search is , for all persian vegitarian recipes, bcos am goint o iran for the first time, am fond of cooking and am a vegitarian , though i eat eggs;;
    i am of indian origin and live in switzerland . am very used obviously to all kind of divers spicy.
    if you could email me a list that comes to your mind (also of those easily available in restaurants, street food}
    thanks a ton
    ravi shankar

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