Albaloo Polo or Persian Sour Cherry Rice

An Enchanting Fusion of Flavors
Albaloo Polo Persian Sour Cherry Rice pinit

A Culinary Odyssey Unveiled: Crafting Albaloo Polo, a Persian Gem

Embarking on a culinary odyssey that’s certain to captivate your senses, I’m elated to unveil the treasured recipe for Albaloo Polo—a Persian gem that has woven its way into my heart and kitchen. “Polo,” a term infused with the essence of Persian cuisine, beckons to the art of crafting exquisite cooked rice or pilaf dishes that tantalize the palate like a symphony of flavors. This recent venture into the world of Albaloo Polo left me spellbound; its irresistible allure kept me returning for forkful after forkful, a true testament to its culinary prowess.

The Cherished Core: A Melody of Rice and Sour Cherries

At the core of this culinary masterpiece lies the enchanting harmony of rice and sour cherries, particularly the illustrious Morello cherries. These dark crimson gems, imbued with a tantalizing tartness, elevate the dish to a realm of unparalleled taste. While ordinary cherries may pale in comparison, Morello cherries shine as the stars of this creation, imparting a distinctive sweet-tart melody that lingers on the palate, leaving an indelible mark. Traditionally, Albaloo Polo finds its perfect counterpart in succulent meats or tender cuts of chicken, forming a harmonious chorus of flavors that dance harmoniously with every bite.

The Saffron Enchantment: A Marriage of Elegance

The allure of this recipe extends beyond the cherries, for it’s the marriage of these tart jewels with saffron that truly elevates Albaloo Polo into a culinary masterpiece. The inclusion of saffron, a precious and aromatic spice, adds a mesmerizing depth to the dish, infusing each grain of rice with an exquisite golden hue and a rich, earthy aroma. As the threads of saffron delicately mingle with the other ingredients, they weave a tapestry of flavor that is both luxurious and enchanting.

Embarking on the Cherries’ Journey: Seasonal Splendor and Middle Eastern Markets

As you embark on your Albaloo Polo journey, know that Morello cherries typically grace our tables during the fleeting days of May. Should this season slip through your fingers, don’t fret, as frozen alternatives or cherries preserved in jars stand ready to join the culinary ensemble. Your trusted Middle Eastern or Persian grocery store is a veritable treasure trove of authentic ingredients that breathe life into this dish, transforming it from mere sustenance to an experience that tantalizes the senses.

The Dance of Cherries and Syrup: Creating Flavorful Harmony

Your rendezvous with cherries begins with a delicate draining, saving the precious juices for future use. A gentle shower of sugar transforms the cherries into a harmonious blend of sweet and tart, a symphony of flavors that awakens the taste buds. As the cherries luxuriate in their sugary embrace, the reserved juices step back into the limelight, ready to play a supporting role that elevates the culinary composition.

From Juices to Elixir: The Culinary Alchemy of Reduction

Watch as these juices undergo a gradual reduction, their essence concentrating into a symphony of flavor that’s both vibrant and complex. This elixir, a distillation of the cherries’ essence, now takes center stage, draping the bed of rice and cherries with its aromatic presence. An astute culinary enthusiast, I’ve unearthed a delightful secret—the surplus syrup, a prized relic of the culinary process. A splash of this precious nectar into a glass, followed by a cascade of cold water, creates a refreshing elixir that revives the senses, whether enjoyed as a culinary accompaniment or a respite during sweltering summer days. This elixir, affectionately known as “Sharbat-e-Albaloo,” mirrors the traditions of Iran, where it’s lovingly bottled to provide a cooling escape throughout the sun-drenched months.

The Culinary Symphonic Ascent: Crafting the Rice Melody

As the spotlight shifts to the rice, a culinary symphony unfurls in earnest. If you’re familiar with the art of steamed rice preparation, you’ll find a sense of homecoming in this phase. The rice, the true protagonist, undergoes a ritual of cleansing, as it’s tenderly rinsed and allowed to soak. A rendezvous with boiling water follows, with the rice simmering leisurely for about eight minutes. This preparatory phase readies the rice for its enchanting embrace with cherries, an alchemical fusion that’s orchestrated to perfection.

The Grand Reveal: Saffron-Kissed Rice and Cherries in Unison

Embrace the union of rice, cherries, and saffron as they entwine in layers of opulence, poised to luxuriate in the gentle caress of steam for approximately twenty minutes. And then, an essential player of Persian cuisine makes its grand entrance—the revered tahdig, a crisp and golden layer of bread or rice that graces the bottom of the pot. This coveted element adds a delightful crunch to every forkful, inviting you to uncover its hidden treasure with every serving.

The Enchantment Unveiled: A Fusion of Sweetness and Tartness

While the cherries bask in their sugary symphony, a transformation akin to magic transpires. The amalgamation of sugar, heat, and saffron yields a culinary masterpiece—cherries enrobed in a luscious mantle of sweetness, yet retaining a touch of their inherent tartness. This delicate equilibrium bestows the dish with a symphony of flavors—silky smoothness, indulgent sweetness, and a gentle tartness that harmonizes in perfect unity, each note playing on the palate like a finely tuned instrument.

The Royal Presence: Albaloo Polo’s Role in Celebrations

Venturing into the realm of celebrations, Albaloo Polo reigns as the crowned jewel of events and weddings. Its regal presence on the table evokes a sense of grandeur, weaving tradition, taste, and community into each flavorful bite. As friends and family gather and plates are laden, the dish becomes more than mere sustenance; it transforms into a symbol of togetherness, shared joy, and the art of Persian culinary heritage.

A Culinary Tapestry: Tradition, Flavor, and Pleasure

In summation, the journey of Albaloo Polo is an epic symphony that encapsulates the very essence of Persian gastronomy. The tale of rice, cherries, and saffron weaving together, the reduction of juices into ambrosial elixirs, and the harmonious dance of flavors combine to create a masterpiece that beckons the senses and nourishes the soul. As you embark on this gastronomic adventure, remember that beyond the recipe lies a rich tapestry of tradition, culture, and the art of savoring life’s simplest yet most profound pleasures.

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Albaloo Polo or Persian Sour Cherry Rice

Difficulty: Intermediate Prep Time 30 mins Cook Time 30 mins Total Time 1 hr
Servings: 6
Best Season: Summer


Embark on a gastronomic journey with the revered Albaloo Polo recipe—a Persian culinary masterpiece that harmonizes the bold flavors of Morello cherries, saffron, and rice into a symphony of exquisite taste. "Polo," a term resonating with the essence of pilaf, takes center stage in this creation, uniting delicate rice grains with the captivating sweet-tartness of Morello cherries, resulting in a harmonious culinary marriage that delights the senses. The infusion of saffron adds a touch of opulence, imbuing each grain with a captivating golden hue and a captivating fragrance.

As the cherries luxuriate in their sugared infusion, their juices undergo a transformation into a fragrant elixir that envelops the dish, extra leftover syrup is refreshing and is like the treasured drink—Sharbat-e-Albaloo. Rooted in a time-honored tradition that can be served as a drink with the dish or after. This dish embodies the very essence of Persian culinary heritage, making it a regal presence at gatherings and celebrations, symbolizing shared happiness, cultural legacy, and the art of savoring life's simplest and most profound pleasures.



  1. Begin by placing the rice in a bowl and rinsing it under cold tap water, repeating this process a couple of times to remove excess starch. Once rinsed, cover the rice with water and allow it to rest for a minimum of 20 minutes; however, an extended soaking time yields even better results. For optimal texture and flavor infusion, you can even opt to soak the rice overnight, setting the stage for a flavorful cooking experience the following day.

    Albaloo Polo, soak the rice
  2. Start by taking a large pot and filling it with water, about three-quarters of the way. Put the lid on and let the water come to a boil. Once it's boiling, add a small amount of salt, and then introduce the rice to the pot after draining the soaking water. Allow the rice to cook for approximately 8 minutes until it reaches an al dente texture. Be mindful not to overcook it, as you want to avoid it becoming too soft and mushy. After cooking, transfer the rice to a colander and give it a thorough rinse under cold tap water to halt the cooking process.

    Albaloo Polo, Boil the water
  3. If sour cherries happen to be out of season, a practical solution presents itself in the form of pitted sour cherries available in jars. Typically preserved in a light syrup, these jarred cherries offer a convenient alternative. To begin, carefully drain the cherries from the jar into a bowl. Make sure to retain the syrup as it holds valuable flavor.

    Albaloo Polo, sour cherry in light syrup
  4. Add the cherries to a pot and add the sugar and cook on medium heat. 

    Albaloo Polo Sour cherries
  5. After about 10 minutes. Remove the cherries, add the syrup from the jar, and let the syrup simmer for at least another 10 minutes so it is reduced and thicker.

    Albaloo Polo
  6. Add a bit of olive oil to the pot and place tortilla or lavash bread to cover the bottom of the pot.
    Albaloo Polo, Bread for tahdig
  7. Allow the bread a few moments to cook, then with care, flip it over to initiate cooking on the opposite side. This maneuver guarantees a crisper and more delectable tahdig.

    Albaloo polo, tahdig
  8. Place a third of the rice on top of the bread.
    Albaloo Polo, rice
  9. Next, it's time to create layers of culinary delight. Begin by placing a layer of sour cherries onto the rice bed, followed by a gentle sprinkling of a couple of tablespoons of the reserved syrup. Repeat this process a couple of times, alternating between rice and cherries, until you've successfully transferred all of the components to the pot. This meticulous layering ensures a harmonious blend of flavors throughout the dish.

    Albaloo Polo
  10. With a wooden spoon at hand, gently create a gap between the rice and the pot's sides, ensuring no direct contact. Employ the stem of the spoon to fashion several small holes within the rice. This strategic move facilitates the smooth movement of moisture from the base, averting any unwanted sogginess. Infuse the dish with a burst of flavor by introducing small butter pieces and a delicate drizzle of olive oil over the top layer of rice. These final touches promise a sumptuous and well-balanced culinary creation.

    Albaloo Polo
  11. In a small cup, introduce boiling water to the crushed saffron, covering it with a plate to allow the infusion to gently simmer and develop its rich color and aroma.

  12. Finally, add the saffron to the rice.

    Albaloo Polo. add saffron and butter
  13. Retrieve a tea towel and skillfully envelop the lid of the pot with it, ensuring a snug fit, before securing the pot's lid in place. This strategic move harnesses the absorbent power of the fabric to wick away any steam-generated moisture, thereby preventing it from trickling back into the pot and causing unwelcome sogginess. With the stage impeccably set, allow the rice to luxuriate over low heat for approximately 20 minutes, as the steam orchestrates a symphony of flavors, culminating in a perfect harmony of textures and tastes.

    tea towel on the pot lid
  14. In twenty minutes serve and enjoy. 

    Albaloo Polo - Persian Sour Cherry Rice
  15. And let us not overlook the coveted tahdig that graces the bottom of the pot. As the cherry-infused rice is elegantly transferred onto a platter, remember to unveil the crowning glory—the tahdig. With utmost care, lift the tahdig from its cozy spot, revealing its crisp, brittle, and utterly delightful form. This coveted treasure promises a textural sensation that perfectly complements the succulent cherry rice, ensuring a gratifying culinary experience that's nothing short of divine.

  16. And if you have any sour cherry syrup left over add about a 1/4 inch to a glass and pour cold water and enjoy.

    Albaloo syrup, sherbet albaloo
Keywords: Sour Cherry, Morello Cherry, Rice, Persian, Iran, Albaloo,
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