Loobia-Cheshm-Bolboli Polow - Rice with Black-Eyed Peas

Rice with black-eyed peas (cheshm bolboli) is one of many Iranian rice dishes and "cheshm bolboli" means nightingale's eyes in Persian/Farsi language. This may not be as popular or as presentable and festive looking as some of the other rice dishes, but it's a tasty vegetarian dish to make for a Sunday afternoon light lunch with close friends. It may also be served with lamb, or chicken too, but I like it by itself with some salad, yogurt or pickles. Whenever I make this dish it brings back memories of home.

Loobia-Cheshm-Bolboli Polow - Rice with Black-Eyed Peas 

Serves 4-6

2 cups rice, washed, soak in salted water for two hours
1 1/2 cup dried black-eyed peas, picked over, rinse
5-6 cups of water for the rice
3-4 cups water for the peas
2 -3 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon of ground saffron mixed with 2-3 tablespoons of hot water (liquid saffron)
Salt and pepper to taste


1/2 cup chopped dates *optional
1/2 cup currants *optional
1 small onion, peeled, thinly sliced and caramelized *optional
2 tablespoons butter

  1. Place black-eyed peas in a medium size pot. Add water, bring to a boil and after 2-3 minutes, reduce heat to medium. Cook for about 40 minutes or until tender. Black-eyed peas don't require the over night soak.
  2. In the meantime, in a non-stick pot bring water to boil, add rice and boil for 10-15  minutes or until the ends are soft and the center is still a bit firm. 
  3. In the last five minutes, gently scoop in the cooked beans to the boiling rice and let the rice and the beans boil together for 5-7 minutes. 
  4. Drain in a colander and rinse gently with cool water. 
  5. Wash and clean the pot, add oil to the bottom, add rice and the beans, place the pot on the stove on medium heat. When you notice the steam come up, sprinkle a cup of water or the left over liquid from the beans and the liquid saffron. Put the lid back on tightly. You may wrap the lid in a towel to prevent the moisture from going back in. Cook for 45-50 minutes.
  6. In a small frying pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter, saute onion until brown, add raisins and dates, saute for 5 more minutes. 
To serve gently spoon rice into a serving platter, garnish with dates, raisins and caramelized onions.



  1. oh that looks delish. I love mixing rice and beans. :)

  2. what is/where do you get liquid saffron?
    this dish looks delicious.

  3. Teresa, I included the info in the recipe. Thanks for the question. Saffron threads are sold in most Iranian/ Middle Eastern stores, it's a very expensive spice and a little bit goes a long way. In order to make liquid saffron, take a pinch of saffron threads, grind it using a mortar and pestle or a small electric grinder. Mix 1/3 of a teaspoon of powdered saffron with 2-3 tablespoons of hot water. You can make this dish with or without any saffron.

  4. Nice recipe.Didn't realize there were any Persian dishes that used black-eyed peas.Now I know what to do with ones I bought last week.

  5. It doesn't look festive? I thought it looked gorgeous with the jewel-like dates and currants on top, with the golden strings of onions! :)

  6. Wow, what a gorgeous rice! I had never heard of it before. Thank you for introducing me to this lovely rice Azita Jan!

  7. Peanutts,love the rice and beans combination too.
    cmiranda, we use a variety of beans in our cooking including the black-eyed peas.
    maninas, that's very nice of you to say, thank you.
    MPK jan, thanks, you're very kind.

  8. looks great nice way to use black eyed peas

  9. I am first time here, ur blog looks incredible...its a pleasure to discover ur space. I like ur recipes...will have to come back to read more':):)

    Lobia Pilaf sounds very interesting to me...addition of saffron always fascinate me.:)

  10. I like that dish and I too did not know Persian cuisine used black-eyed peas in rice dishes. I say with a bit of saffron, it will always taste great!

  11. Such a wonderful rice, delicious with black-eyed peas!

  12. Agree with My Persian Kitchen--it's beautiful AND I'd never heard of it either. I'm a simple girl. I adore beans and rice. Adding in the dried fruits and the saffron is like icing on the cake for me. Lovely! I will be making this soon.

  13. it's a beauty, Azita Jan. each grain of rice independent and beautiful! a v pretty photo, too. could you add in a few lines about chasme-bulbul (i have always loved that phrase)? i know your non-Persian/Dari speaking readers would love to know about it! x shayma

  14. Thank you Shayma jan, That's a great suggestion! I'm going to add in a few lines soon.x

  15. this version looks delicious.....i have never seen it before. we always make it with sabzi polo greens and black eyed peas and usually serve it with chicken. thanks!