Albaloo polo (Iranian Rice with Sour Cherries)

Albaloo polo (Persian: آلبالو پلو‎) is an Iranian dish of rice and sour cherries usually served with chicken or koobideh kebab or some form of stew (Khoresht). In Persian, Albaloo means cherry, or more specifically morello cherry. Polo is a style of cooked rice, known in English as pilaf.

The herbs and spices used in this variation of polo vary, but typically include advieh, and saffron.



  • 5 cups of fresh sour cherries, pitted
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 3 cups of basmati rice
  • 4 tbsp of butter
  • 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp of Advieh
  • 2 tbsp of yogurt
  • pinch of saffron
  • Canola oil
  • 1 handful of slivered pistachios


  1. Place the pitted sour cherries in a pot, add the sugar on top. Give it a gentle stir and simmer on medium for 15 minutes.
  2. Place a bowl under a colander. Place the cherries in the colander and let the juices drain.
  3. Return the juices to the pot and let reduce for about 10 minutes. If the end result is jelly like, don’t worry. It is perfectly OK. Set the syrup aside.
  4. Place 2 tbsp of butter in a sauce pan. Let it melt. Add 1 tbsp of advieh and give it an nice stir.
  5. Turn off the flame and add the cherries mixing it well so that the cherries are coated with the butter and advieh.
  6. In the mean time make your rice according to the CHELOW (or CHALAW) recipe. Make sure that the water for the rice is well seasoned with salt. When making saffron for the tahdig reserve a little bit for later, about 1 tsp.
  7. Go ahead and built the first layer of rice with yogurt and saffron. Make sure that the bottom of your pan is covered with a thin layer of water and oil. Pour some rice on top.
  8. Then place half of the sour cherries on top. Give it a gentle stir to mix the sour cherries with the rice. Repeat with the rest of the rice and cherries.
  9. Always finish with a layer of rice and make sure that it is in the form of a pyramid. With the back of a spatula make some holes making sure that you stop before the bottom layer, where the rice and yogurt mixture is.
  10. Cover and cook on high for 10 minutes.
  11. In the mean time melt 2 tbsp of butter, mix in 1 tbsp of the syrup, the remaining saffron, and 1 tsp of advieh. Pour over the rice.
  12. Cover the lid with a cloth and cook for 1 hour on medium low. When done place the rice in a platter and sprinkle the slivered pistachios on top.
  13. Serve with Chicken with Sour Cherry Syrup. (See RECIPE below)


Chicken with Sour Cherry Syrup RECIPE:


  • 1 lb chicken (boneless, skinless thighs, or any part of the chicken)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric
  • 4 to 5 tbsp sour cherry syrup
  • salt, pepper


  1. Sauté’ onion until translucent.
  2. Add turmeric and let the onions cook for a couple of minutes longer.
  3. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to onion.
  4. Shake the pan so that the chicken touches the bottom of the pan. Cook for about five minutes then flip chicken, cover and cook for 5 minutes longer so that the juices release.
  5. Add 1/2 cup of water and sour cherry syrup. Give it a stir, cover and cook for 20-30 minutes longer. Once ready check and adjust seasoning.

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