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5 from 4 votes

Adas Polo – Persian Lentil Rice

Adas Polo - Persian Lentil Rice is perfect for a weeknight meal. Rice and lentils served with delicious beef and raisins make the perfect healthy meal!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr 15 mins
Total Time1 hr 25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Persian
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 540kcal
Author: Shadi HasanzadeNemati


For the filling

  • 1 cup lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 8 ounce ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 2 tablespoons bloomed saffron divided
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup Medjool dates pitted

For the rice

  • 6 1/3 cups water divided
  • 2 cups basmati rice washed and drainedrice
  • 6 cups of water plus 1/3 cup
  • 1 ½ teaspoon 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil divided
  • 2 potatoes sliced
  • 2 tablespoons bloomed saffron


To make the filling

  • Cook the lentils in a pot of boiling water over medium heat for 20 minutes, until they are half cooked. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  • In a large pan, heat the vegetable oil. Sauté the onion until it’s golden. Add the ground beef and cook until it’s light brown. Add the turmeric, cinnamon, salt, and bloomed saffron. Stir until ground beef is cooked completely. Set aside.
  • Wash the raisins and spread them on a kitchen towel. Dry them, then place them in a small heat-proof bowl. Set aside.

To make the rice

  • Pour 6 cups of water in a large nonstick pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the rice and salt, and boil about 10 minutes. Check one grain with your fingers by pressing it between your thumb and index finger; you should be able to break the grain but it should still be firm. Add the drained lentils to the pot and boil for 30 seconds.
  • Place a colander in clean sink and drain the rice and lentils. Place the pot back on medium heat. Make sure the bottom of the pot is dry. Heat 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil in the pot and place the potato slices in the bottom of the pot so they cover the bottom entirely.
  • Scoop 1/3 of the rice into the pot and layer 1/3 of the beef mixture on top of the rice. Repeat with the remaining rice and filling. Carefully pour 1/3 cup of water around the edges of the pot. Wrap the lid in a clean towel and put it on the pot. Let the rice cook for 20 minutes, until the steam starts to escape from the bottom of the pot. Pour 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil on the rice. Place the bowl of raisins and the dates on top of the rice. Cover and steam for 10 minutes more.
  • In a small bowl, mix 1 cup of the lentil rice with 2 tablespoons of bloomed saffron. Serve the lentil rice in a large platter, topped with dates, raisins, and the saffron lentil rice.
  • Serve with herb platter or plain Greek yogurt on the side.



  • Use lean ground beef for this recipe, anything above 90% lean would work. You can also use ground chicken or turkey if you don't eat red meat. 
  • Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to four days. 


Calories: 540kcal | Carbohydrates: 88g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 192mg | Potassium: 904mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 37IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 73mg | Iron: 5mg