Albaloo Polo (Persian Rice with Sour Cherries)


For a couple of weeks in June, sour cherries were available at the farmers market and some of the local farm markets.  When I saw them, I bought a bunch, pitted them and, since I was not going to use them right away, put them in the freezer.

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Then, I took them out…

[If you cannot get fresh sour cherries, you can find jarred sour cherries in middle eastern markets, or I even saw them at Trader Joes.  They tend to be packed in a syrup, so you need to pull back on any added sweetness in the recipe.]

Back to my frozen cherries…I took them out the night before to thaw, and then was ready to make some Albaloo Polo, aka sour cherry rice.  I had never had it before, but was quite eager to try some. I looked at several recipes, but decided upon Luisa Shafia’s Rice with Sour Cherries and Almonds from her book The New Persian Kitchen.

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It was very good.  Having never tasted it before, I made it with a couple of different salads – my Carrot Salad and a Persian cucumber-tomato-onion salad with mint and lime juice.  After tasting it, I think it would make a perfect side dish with roast chicken.  I will consider making it with my Honey Orange Roasted Chicken for Rosh Hashanah next year. I think that would make a very special dinner.

As a note – here is a close-up of the salad – the only dressing is crushed dried mint, lime juice, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Delicious!

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Albaloo Polo (Persian Rice with Sour Cherries) 

very slightly adapted from The New Persian Kitchen by Luisa Shafia (Rice with Sour Cherries and Almonds)

2 cups white basmati rice, soaked in cold water for 1 hour

3 cups water

Sea salt

2 Tbsp butter at room temperature

1 pound fresh sour cherries, pitted (from Highland Orchards)

1/3 cup honey

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground cardamom

1 cup coarsely chopped almonds, toasted

1/2 tsp prepared saffron (ground and steeped in 1 Tbsp hot water)

Directions

Drain the rice and rinse it with cold water until the water runs clear.  You want to remove the excess starch.

In a pot (6 qt is good) bring the 3 cups of water and a pinch of salt to a boil. Add the rice and return to a boil.  Turn down the heat to the lowest level, cover and cook for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes.  Dot with butter and fluff with a fork.

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While the rice is cooking, put the cherries in a skillet and bring to a boil over high heat.  Turn down the heat to low and add the honey, cinnamon, cardamom, and 1 tsp salt.  Simmer for 15 – 20 minutes, or until the cooking liquid is very thick.

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Spoon the rice into a large bowl.  Fold in the cherries and their cooking liquid.

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Fold in the almonds and saffron and season with salt.

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Serve and enjoy!

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Serves 6 – 8 as a side dish.

Categories: Kosher, Persian, Recipe, Vegetarian | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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Let me know what you think of this post, and if you try the recipe, please let me know how it was and any suggestions you have. Thanks, Andrea

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