Kalam Polou

Kalam Polou or cabbage rice is another family favourite in my house. It’s economical to make, nutritious and a great way to use what is  usually a fairly unexciting vegetable. Plus kids love it … which is always a bonus and a testimony in itself!

serves 4-6


  • 3 cups or 400 gr’s  of rice
  • 400 gr’s of minced beef or lamb
  • 1 medium cabbage diced
  • 1 large onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 good tablespoon of tomatoe paste
  • a good pinch of ground za’faran
  • 1-2 tablespoon of lime juice
  • salt and pepper  to taste
  • a little oil


  • Thoroughly wash the rice and soak in salted water for about 2 hours before needed.
  • Chop the onion
  • Remove a few leaves from the cabbage, enough to line the bottom of the pan you will cook the rice in and put aside.  Chop  the rest of the cabbage but remove the hard stalky pieces,  rinse and put aside
  • prepare a little cup of za’faran infusion


  1. Par boil the rice in the method described here to stage 8 and put to one side
  2. Fry the chopped onions in a little oil until transparent
  3. Add the ground meat and fry until brown
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste and cook until the ingredients are golden
  5. Add the turmeric, tomatoe paste, lime juice, a small cup of boiling water  and most of the za’faran infusion leaving a few drops aside. Mix in well and allow to bubble away while you cook the cabbage.
  6. In a separate pan, fry the cabbage in a little oil on a medium heat for about 5-10 mins until soft
  7. Add to the meat and onions and mix in well.
  8. Add another small cup of water and allow to cook until it has reduced.
  9. In a large deep  heavy bottomed, non stick pan with a lid, heat some oil.
  10. Add a few drops of the za’faran and mix, remove from the heat and  line the pan with  the cabbage leaves you put to one side earlier
  11. Now add layers of rice and meat mixture starting and finishing with a layer of rice
  12. Using the back of a  wooden spoon, ease the rice away from the sides of the pan using the end of the spoon make a few holes in the rice.
  13. Add a desert spoon of butter or ghee to the top of the rice
  14. Place a covered lid on the pan and cook on a low heat for about an 90 mins. This will form a smashing taadig.

Serve with sabzi khordan or mixed green herbs, salad, mast or natural yoghurt and naan.

Nooshi joonet . Enjoy


2 thoughts on “Kalam Polou

  1. Hi Javane. You had commented on my site a little bit ago and I just got around to coming to visit your site. It’s great! I have never tried this cabbage dish (or knew it existed) and I LOVE cabbage so I’m excited to try something new. Thanks!!!

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