Adas Polou or Persian Lentil Rice

There are so many varieties on this dish you can vary it to suit your own tastes. The basic ingredients are lentils, meat, dates and raisins  but you can add sliced almonds too and I often add orange peel which makes it a little bit more special. Completely gluten-free and very ‘moreish’. Full of protein, economical and delicious.


Serves 4-5


  • 3 cups of basmati rice
  • 1 onion
  • 400 gm’s minced meat or small pieces of lamb
  • 3 0r 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons of advieh
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 cup of brown lentils
  • 1 cup of raisins
  • 1/2 cup of chopped dates
  • a handful of sliced almonds ( optional)
  • the grated peel of one orange (optional but not usual)
  • a small cup of liquid saffron
  • a little oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Prepare the za’faran or liquid saffron
  • If you use lamb rather than minced meat, cut the lamb into small pieces no bigger than your finger nail.
  • wash the lentils and cook until soft
  • chop the onion and crush the garlic
  • remove the stones and chop the dates into small pieces
  • If you are going to add orange peel, cook the slithered orange peel in a pan of water and sugar to make it sweet.
  • thoroughly wash the rice and pre soak for at least 2 hours before cooking


  1. In a large pan boil some water and add salt and a  drop of the liquid saffron
  2. When boiling add the rice and cook until soft enough to bite.
  3. Drain, rinse and put to one side.
  4. Meanwhile gently fry the onion in a little oil until it becomes transparent
  5. Add the meat and crushed garlic and brown
  6. Add salt, pepper, turmeric, cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of the advieh
  7. Cook the lentils in some salted water for 10 minutes, then in a frying pan add the raisins, dates and orange peel in a little oil and put to one side.
  8. Pour some oil into a large  heavy bottomed pan and heat
  9. Add the first layer of rice
  10. Now add a layer of the meat mix and continue adding layers. You should begin and end with a layer of rice. I usually make 3 rice layers in total.
  11. Pour on the saffron or za’farn infusion.
  12. Add a spoon of butter or ghee.
  13. Cover the lid of the pan with a tea towel to prevent any steam from dripping back on to the rice and making it wet.
  14. Cook on a low heat for between 60 – 90 mins.

Serve with a dish of mixed herbs or sabzi khordan, or a mixed salad, mast or natural yoghurt and naan.

Nooshi joonet . Enjoy


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