Albaloo Polo


Cherries and rice combine in this show stopping dish



I am thrilled to share a truly unique dish from my “How the World Eats Cherries” series called albaloo polo, or saffron sour cherry rice. This Iranian delicacy is an unexpected combination of rice and cherries. Before you succumb to your apprehension, consider the idea of rice and fruit. Albaloo polo provides an excellent sweet-and-sour combination with saffron-infused rice, and the cherries are deliciously vibrant!

This recipe comes from Nina, who is from Vacaville, California in the United States. Iran is her mother’s homeland, and Nina grew up enjoying this dish from her mother’s hands. She loves it because it’s the perfect marriage of sweet and sour. It also conjures up memories of her mom and grandmother, who often make this dish. Nina tells us that even her American father, who does not enjoy rice or fruit-and-rice combinations, loves albaloo polo. So, give it a try!

My final albaloo polo plating was stunningly beautiful. There are many different colors involved, and this showstopper quality made me really excited to try it. I’d never had cherries with rice, but they provided an unexpected, vibrant taste in addition to the sweet-and-sour flavor of the rice. Ultimately, this dish just tastes really special. There’s no other word for it!

I bought frozen sour cherries at the Middle Eastern supermarket near my house because most of the cherries in America are sweet cherries and are not right for this dish! If you can get your hands on the right cherries, I think albaloo polo is an excellent way to expose yourself to more unique cherry-based foods.

This cherry-forward albaloo polo recipe was incredibly easy to make—just make sure you don’t burn your rice! I hope you enjoy a taste of Iran, from Nina’s family to yours!

Watch the Video



  • 2 cups Basmati Rice
  • 2 tbsp Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Saffron mixed with 1 tbsp water


  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 Medium Onion grated
  • 1 tsp Salt and Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Cardamom
  • 4 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 can Sour Cherries
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Butter


  • Place the sour cherries in a saucepan, add sugar and cook on medium-low heat uncovered for 15 minutes. You will want all the juices!
  • Cook rice per package instructions but stop after around 8 minutes.
  • Add the saffron mixture
  • Begin by layering a 1/3 of the partially cooked rice and a 1/3 of sour cherries into the pot and repeat until all of the rice and cherries have been layered in the pot.
  • Wrap the lid with a clean towel and place on top of the pot. Allow the rice to steam over a medium-low to medium heat for about 45 minutes.
  • For the meatballs, mix everything and roll meatballs into malls slightly larger than a cherry.
  • Heat a large frying pan with oil and cook the meatballs until they are fully cooked and crispy. Typically about 10 minutes.
  • Add the reserved cherry syrup to the pan and swirl around for the syrup to be better mixed and coating the meatballs.
  • Remove the rice from the pan and place on a serving platter. Arrange the meatballs on the serving platter and garnish with pistachios and almonds.


Recipe inspired by I Got It From My Maman
Course: Dinner
Region: Asia
Keyword: Comfort food, Crowd-pleaser


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