Sour Cherry Rice with Herbs and Lamb Meatballs (Albaloo Polo)

Recipe Date: May 27, 2021
Difficulty: Medium
Measurements: Imperial (US)

This aromatic rice dish is heavenly. The combination of bright herbs, tart cherries, saffron and crunchy Tahdig satisfies all of your senses. Serves 4 to 6


  • 1 recipe sour cherries, recipe link below
  • 1 recipe lamb meatballs (Ghel Gheli), recipe link below
  • 2 cups basmati rice, soaked in cold water for 1 hour and rinsed
  • 8 cups water
  • 1½ tablespoons kosher salt, for boiling the rice and will be rinsed out
  • 2 tablespoons ghee, butter or oil
  • 1 large pinch saffron threads, dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water
  • ¼ cup chopped dill
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon pistachios, slivered
  • 1 tablespoon slivered almonds, lightly toasted
  • 1 cup full fat yogurt
  • 1 cup sprigs of dill, parsley, mint, cilantro


1. In a large covered pot, bring 8 cups water and salt to a boil.

2. Add the rinsed rice and boil on high heat uncovered for about 5-8 minutes, or until the rice has slightly softened. Drain the rice in a colander, rinse and set aside.

3. Melt 2 tablespoons ghee in a non-stick pot over low heat.

4. In a small bowl, mix 1 cup of the lightly cooked rice with the saffron-water mixture. Spread evenly in the bottom of the pot. This will be the crispy rice layer at the bottom of the pot known as Tahdig.

5. Toss the remaining rice with the herbs. Begin by layering a third of the partially cooked rice and a third of sour cherries into the pot and repeat until all of the rice and cherries have been layered in the pot.

6. Wrap the lid with a clean towel and place on top of the pot securely. Allow the rice to steam over low heat for about 45 minutes.

7. Turn the pot out onto a serving platter. Rice should come out as a cake with the crispy Tahdig on top.

8. Arrange the meatballs on the serving platter around the rices and garnish with pistachios and almonds. Serve with a side of yogurt and a platter of fresh herbs.