August 19, 2009

Adas Polow - Rice with Lentils

Iranian Rice with Lentils

عدس پلو Adas polow is one of the traditional Iranian dishes that I grew up with. It's a great rice dish to prepare when you don't have a lot of time on your hands yet you want something delicious. Rice with lentils is not usually served in formal gatherings. However, you can make it for your family, close relatives and friends. That's what I do. Adas polow can be served with cooked ground beef. You can serve the cooked ground beef over the rice, on the side of the rice or you can cook it together with rice and lentils in the same pot.

Adas Polow (Rice with Lentils)

Serves 4-6

2 cups rice
1 1/2 cup dried lentils
1/4 teaspoon ground saffron, dissolved in 3 tablespoons of hot water
1 small onion, finely chopped
Dash of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
Salt and pepper to taste
Vegetable oil or olive oil


Fried onion
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped dates

  1. Pick over the lentils and rinse a couple of times. Place in a pot, add  2 1/2 cups of water, bring to a boil on medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, add 1/4 teaspoon salt, cover and cook for about 20 minutes or until the lentils are soft and there is little liquid is left in the pot. Set aside.
  2. Rinse rice with cool water, soak in 3-4 cups of water with 2 tablespoons of salt for a couple of hours. 
  3. Saute chopped onions in 2 tablespoons of oil on medium heat until the onions begin to soften, add turmeric, stir, Add the raisins, dates, a dash of cinnamon, saute lightly for a couple of minutes. Set aside
  4. In a large non-stick pan, bring 4 cups of water to a rapid boil. 
  5. Drain rice and pour into the boiling water. Bring water to back a boil for 10 minutes on medium-high heat. Test to see if the rice is ready. Rice should be firm in the center and soft on the outside. Drain and rinse with cool water.  
  6. Wash the pot and return to heat. Add a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil to the pot. With a large spatula, place a layer of rice into the pot, place a layer of cooked lentils, then another layer of rice, continue building it into a pyramid shape. Spread the liquid saffron over the rice. In order to release the steam make 2-3 holes in the rice with the bottom of the spatula. 
  7. Cover and cook for 10 minutes on medium-high heat until rice is steaming, lower heat to medium-low and steam the rice for another 45-50 minutes.
Serve rice on a large platter topped with fried onions, raisins and dates. This dish is best served with mast o khiar and salad shirazi.



  1. Hello Again! My mom made this for dinner last night. It was a great success! Thanks for the recipe!

  2. Thanks Amy for commenting and for trying the recipe. Nooshe-jan! Please thank your mom for me for making it. That’s wonderful.

  3. Hi Azita! I made this recipe for the first time, and I really loved it. I never thought I would be able to make Persian food, but your recipes are so easy.

    Thank you!

  4. Hi Azita, I am going to try to make this recipe for my husband. He is Iranian and I am Scottish, he loves this dish and I hope to have succeeded in making it by the time I go over to Iran to see him.

  5. Anonymous, Thank you for visiting my blog. I'm sure your husband will enjoy whatever you decide to cook! Best wishes.

  6. Hi Azita jan,
    I tried your receipe and it was fantastic. Thank you so much. I was searching for a good one for a long time and couldn't, then I found yours. I just added some cardamom and some spices which my mum had brought me from Iran ( adviyeye polo, I added the spices among between the layers as well.
    Thanks and hope to be in touch,
    Shahrzad, Dubai

  7. Shahrzad jan, Noosh e jan! I love your idea of adding cardamom and spices to adas polow! I'll give it a try soon. Thanks for the tip and please keep in touch.

  8. salam,
    arzam be khedmamtetun ke man vaghty adas polo mipazam, adas ro nimpaz mikonam va bad vaghty berenj tuye ab jush khord, chand daghighe ghabl az abkesh mirizam tuye abejush va berenj ta hamashun bahal khub ghati beshan. va bad abkesh mikonam,
    qorbune u

  9. Salam Mina jan, mamnoonam az pishnahadet. Motmaennan keh ba ravesh shoma berenj o adas khoob makhloot mishan va polo ham khosh-rangtar az ab dar miad. Motshakeram!

    Rooz o roozegaret khosh,


  10. Hi-
    My husband is Iraqi- can you by chance give me a traditional Iraqi meal (in English :) I would love to surprise him! Thanks


    1. Hi Melissa, you will find many dishes are common to Iranian and Iraqi cuisine. And many Iraqis are familiar with, and like Iranian food. Besides Iranian food is delicious and most people love it, so I am sure if you pick anything from Azita's recipes, you will not go wrong!

  11. Hi Melissa, sorry, I'm not familiar with Iraqi cuisine. Thanks for stopping by.

  12. I made it last sunday. I couldn't get over i delicious and perfect it turned out!. Thank you.

  13. Salam Azita khanoom: First of all, I absolutely love your website. I don't know what I would do without all your delicious and easy to follow recipes. So please never stop the great work. If I want to add ground beef to the adas polo how do I do it? When do I add the ground beef? Thank you, Maryam

    1. Salam Maryam jan, Thank you so much. In a pan, saute chopped onions in vegetable oil over medium-high heat until golden brown. Add the ground beef, turmeric, salt and pepper, cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until browned. You can add a layer of rice, then lentils and beef until you are done and cook them all together (step #5), or you can add the beef over cooked rice and lentils when serving.

  14. Thank you so much for this recipe. Made it tonight and it was sooo delicious! A lot of work, but delicious. ^-^ Unfortunately, I didn't have basmati rice and had to use jasmine, so it ended up a little bit mushier than I wanted, but the flavor was still great! Next time, I will add even more raisins and dates. Gotta buy some more saffron.

  15. I was so happy to find your recipe! When I was pregnant with my first child I would order this dish from a restaurant down the block from my office building at least once a week. I was never able to re-create it at home (the lentils would be too mushy, the rice too wet, etc). After following your instructions I've successfully made this more than few times and am prepping to make it again tonight.

  16. Hi, What kind of lentils would you suggest using? I was going to use the Masoor Lentil -- or should i used Urad daal?


    1. I like using green or brown lentils for this recipe.

  17. I had this at a potluck buffet and there were walnuts, so good and crunchy. Should they be toasted first?

  18. When do you add the onion-raisin mixture? Thanks.

    1. Add the fried onion-raisin mixture before serving.