Kalam Polo Shirazi

Kalam Polo famous as Kalam Polo Shirazi is a popular main course recipe from Shiraz, Iran. Kalam Polo is rice made with cabbage, different spices, and meatballs.

What are the Ingredients?

Rice Ingredients

  • 2 cups Basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup dill
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 1/2 cup basil
  • 1/2 cup chives
  • 8 cups water
  • Salt
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 2 tsp brewed saffron


  • 4 kohlrabies
  • 2 Onions
  • spice mix
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 juiced lemon
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp canola oil

Meat Balls

  • 450g ground meat
  • 1 grated onion
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 juiced lemon
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp canola oil

Spice mix

  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ginger


Preparation time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 1h40 minutes Cooking method: cooking
Cooking Skills: Advanced Meal: Lunch/dinner Suitable for: 4 people


How to prepare Estamboli Polo?

Step 1: Preparing Ingredients

Rinse rice and let it soak for about 2 hours in salty water.

Peel and chop kohlrabi into even slices.

Chop herbs (basil, parsley, dill, and chives).

Brew saffron.

Mix the spices: Nutmeg, cumin, turmeric, coriander, ginger, and cloves.


Step 2: Preparing Kohlrabi

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add chopped onion; stir for 2 minutes. Add kohlrabi; stir for about 5 minutes until soft. Add tomato paste, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, salt, pepper, and the spice blend; stir for another 2 minutes.


Step 3: Preparing Meatballs

Mix all the meatballs ingredients (except the olive oil, lemon juice, and tomato paste). Mix thoroughly with your hands to obtain a smooth consistency then form small meatballs using your palms.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add meatballs and fry them on all sides for about 10 minutes. Add lemon juice, tomato paste, salt, and pepper, and fry for 2 minutes until it is water free.


Step 4: Preparing Rice

Fill a large nonstick pot with 10 cups of water, and add oil and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add the rinsed rice to the boiling water, and continue cooking over medium to high heat. Stir occasionally. After 5-6 mins. scoop some rice grains from the water using a slotted spoon. Break one grain in half to ensure it is “al dente”. The rice should be firm in the center and soft on the outside. Add the herbs; continue cooking for 1 minute. Drain and rinse with cold water.


Step 5: Mix and Steam

Mix 1 cup of semi-cooked rice in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of brewed saffron. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large nonstick pot over medium heat. Distribute saffron rice evenly in the bottom of the pan. Add 1/3 of the rice, then 1/3 of the kohlrabi and meatballs. Repeat until all the rice, kohlrabi and meatballs have been layered inside the pan.

Wrap the lid of the pan with a clean tea towel and cover. Let the rice steam over medium-low heat for about 45 minutes.


Step 6: Serve

Scoop Kalam polo on a large platter and shape a pyramid. Pour some brewed saffron on top. Put a large plate on top of the pot and turn it over so that Tahdig comes out perfectly. You can serve this delicious Iranian dish with Shirazi salad or torshi (pickled vegetables).

Enjoy your meal!







Useful links:

Delicious Iranian Side Dishes

Different types of Tadig

How to brew saffron?



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