Cumin Turmeric Rice Pilaf layered with Chickpeas and Potatoes

Zireh polo

زیره پلو

Today I found myself wanting to stay close to home and do all kinds of domestic things. After the chores had been knocked off one by one, I was still longing to do something comforting and truly homey.

Naturally, I ended up in the kitchen, and I started to explore some less well-known Persian recipes. I found myself changing them around just a little to suit my craving for comfort food.

The result of this pursuit was this rice pilaf, based on a dish that originated in the Kerman province of Iran, on the eastern side of the country. The recipe I came across doesn’t have any meat or beans in it; as it is traditional with Persian dishes, the protein is often cooked separately and served alongside of the dish. Alternatively, I can totally see this dish accompanied by a couple of sunny side up eggs, with turmeric sprinkled on top, of course!

I opted to make this dish vegetarian by using chickpeas, but I would venture out and say you could also use lamb, beef, chicken, or prawns for the protein. Enjoy exploring while blending cultures and flavors!


Lubia polo

Rice pilaf layered with green beans and beef in a seasoned tomato sauce
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 10 mins
Soaking time for rice1 hr
Total Time2 hrs 25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Persian
Keyword: beef, green beans, rice
Servings: 4
Author: Omid Roustaei, The Caspian Chef



  • 6 tablespoons ghee or butter, divided
  • 1 large onions diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 pound stewing meat, beef or lamb
  • 2 cups green beans cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste rinsed


  • 2 cups basmati rice, soaked for one hour
  • 2 tablespoons salt, for parboiling the rice and will be rinsed out
  • 1 tablespoons ghee


  • In a frying pan, add 2 tablespoons of ghee and saute the onions over medium heat for about 15 minutes.
  • Add garlic and saute for one minute before adding salt, pepper, turmeric and cinnamon. Saute for additional 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and put aside.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of ghee to the same pan and saute the beef on medium high heat for about 10 minutes, or until the beef has been lightly browned on all sides.
  • Add the green beans and tomato paste and saute for 2 minutes.
  • Add the rinsed rice and boil on high heat uncovered for about 6-8 minutes. The rice should still have some texture and density to it.
  • Drain the rice in a large colander and set aside while you prepare the pan.
  • Melt 2 tablespoons of ghee in a nonstick pot and place the thin flat bread on the bottom. This will be the crispy bread tahdig!
  • Begin by layering a 1/3 of the partially cooked rice and a 1/3 of the potato-chickpeas mixture into the pot and repeat until all of the rice and the potatoes-chickpeas have been layered in the pot. Gently mix the rice mixture to create a uniform mixture.
  • Spread the remaining 2 tablespoons of ghee or butter evenly over the top of the rice and pour in a 1/4 cup of water over the rice.
  • 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.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  • Select a large tray or platter to place on top of the pan and carefully and swiftley invert the rice onto the platter.
  • Serve the rice with a side of yogurt or Torshi, Persian pickled eggplants.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.