Kalam Polo Recipe: How to Master Persian Cabbage Rice

Kalam Polo Recipe

Kalam Polo Recipe

Today, we’re diving into a delicious Persian dish called Kalam Polo, which translates to cabbage and rice. This comforting dish combines fluffy rice with savory cabbage and is often varied with different meats or kept vegetarian. It’s a delightful meal that brings the warmth and richness of Persian cuisine to your table.

Kalam Polo Recipe

Main Ingredients:

  • White cabbage: 1 medium size
  • Basmati rice: 4 cups
  • Ground beef (optional): 400 grams
  • Onion: 2 medium size

Herbs and Spices:

  • Herbs (basil, chives, tarragon): 400 grams
  • Salt: 2 teaspoons
  • Ground black pepper: 1 teaspoon
  • Ground turmeric: 1 teaspoon

Liquids and Oils:

  • Lime juice: 1 tablespoon
  • Brewed saffron: 2 tablespoons
  • Oil: 5 tablespoons

Step 1: Prepare Ingredients

Begin by peeling and slicing the onions and the white cabbage into thin strips. This will help them cook evenly and integrate nicely with the other ingredients in the dish.

Step 2: Saute the Onions

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced onions to the skillet and sauté them until they turn a golden brown, which usually takes about 7 minutes.

Step 3: Add Spices and Meat

Once the onions are golden, sprinkle in the turmeric and stir for about 30 seconds. Then add the ground beef and black pepper to the pan. Mix well to ensure the spices evenly coat the meat.

Step 4: Brown the Meat

Continue to cook the meat, stirring occasionally, until it is nicely browned and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 to 7 minutes. Once done, remove the meat from the pan and set it aside.

Step 5: Cook the Cabbage

In the same pan, add another 2 to 3 tablespoons of oil and put the sliced cabbage. Let the cabbage sauté until it reduces to about half of its original volume, which should take around 5 minutes.

Step 6: Add Herbs

Add the chopped herbs to the cabbage in the pan. Stir and let them sauté together for about 10 minutes, until the herbs are wilted and everything is well combined.

Step 7: Combine Ingredients

Return the cooked meat and onions to the pan with the cabbage and herbs. Pour in the brewed saffron, season with salt and lime juice, and stir everything together. Allow the mixture to cook for an additional five minutes.

Step 8: Parboil the Rice

Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons of salt to the water and then the rice. Let the rice boil just until the outside becomes soft, about 5 minutes, but ensure it remains uncooked in the center. Then drain and rinse the rice to remove the excess salt.

Step 9: Prepare the Cooking Pot

Coat the bottom of a large pot with oil. This helps prevent the rice from sticking and burning, and it also aids in forming a crispy layer of rice at the bottom.

Step 10: Layer the Ingredients

Start with a layer of rice at the bottom of the pot. Add a layer of the meat, onion, cabbage, and herb mixture over the rice. Continue alternating the layers until all ingredients are used up.

Step 11: Cook the Kalam Polo

Cover the pot with its lid and cook over medium heat for about 5 to 8 minutes until you see steam beginning to form.

Step 12: Steam the Rice

Once steam is visible, place a clean kitchen towel over the pot under the lid to catch any excess moisture. Secure the lid tightly and reduce the heat to low. Let the Kalam Polo steam for about 45 to 50 minutes.

Step 13: Serve

When cooking is complete, carefully flip the pot over onto a large plate to unmold the Kalam Polo, showing the crispy bottom now on top. Garnish with barberries and pistachios if desired.

Step 14: Final Touches

Before serving, remove the crispy rice, also known as Tahdig, and fluff up the remainder of the rice. Serve the Kalam Polo with yogurt, Torshi, Salad Shirazi, or pickles as you prefer.

Recipe Summary

First, prepare your ingredients by slicing onions and cabbage, and sauté the onions in oil until golden. Add turmeric and ground beef, seasoning with black pepper, and cook until browned. Remove the meat and sauté cabbage in the same pan, adding herbs once it has reduced. Combine the meat mixture with cabbage, add brewed saffron, salt, and lime juice, and simmer briefly. Separately, parboil the rice with salt, then drain and rinse. Layer rice and the cabbage-beef mixture in a greased pot, starting and ending with rice. Cook covered on medium until steam forms, then reduce heat to low, cover with a towel, and let steam for 45-50 minutes. Serve the flipped pot of Kalam Polo garnished with barberries and pistachios, alongside yogurt or pickles.

category: Lunch
Update by in Sunday 5 May 2024

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