Saffron Rice with Morello Cherries (Albaloo Polo)

photo 17

This is one of my favorite Persian dishes! I love the look of dish, how it is so beautiful and the surprise of using sour cherries with the saffron and chicken! Seriously, if “Albaloo Polo” is there, I always eat wayyy more than I should!! 😀

See what you think of it! Are you in morello cherry season right now? If so, this dish will taste twice as more delicious if you manage to find fresh sour cherries, rather than the jarred ones. Either way, I think it is a fantastic dish to cook for dinner, for your family or friends! 😉

photo 1

1/2 teaspoon of saffron, brewed (See Note 1 below)
3 cups long grain rice
1/2 jar (370 g) of pitted morello (sour) cherries with juice (See Note 2 below)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Blanched pistachios
Blanched almonds  (optional)
Basil leaves, to garnish (optional)
Cooked and shredded chicken breast or beef pieces



1. Brew the saffron and set aside.
2. Cook 1.5 cups of rice with 1.5 cups of water and a pinch of salt in the rice cooker.
photo 2
3. Remove the rice from rice cooker and set aside.
4. Cook another 1.5 cups of rice with 1.5 cups of morello cherry juice in the rice cooker.
5. Remove from rice cooker and set aside.
6. Mix half of the plain rice with the saffron water and let stand for 15 minutes so that the rice absorbs all the beautiful rich yellow color of saffron.
7. You now have three beautiful distinct color rices:
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8. Combine all the three color rices with the shredded chicken and reheat if required.
photo 129. Add the morello cherries and blanched pistachios (and/or almonds) and stir briefly to combine.
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10. You can add shredded chicken breast or beef to the rice dish at this stage.
11.  Garnish with a few sprigs of basil.
Enjoy!!! 🙂


Note 1: To brew saffron, place saffron flower stigmas in a mortar and pestle and grind until powder-like. Then pour boiling water over it (here you can use about 2 or 3 table spoons; The less water you add, the more intense the color will be). Then cover and let sit for about 15 minutes. This develops the color and flavour of saffron.

Note 2:This dish is traditionally made with fresh sour (morello) cherries. If you are in morello cherry season, it is really worth it to use them instead of jarred ones that I have used here. I have found all jarred morello cherries contain sugar, and thus they are a bit sweet. Fresh morello cherries also have much better color as well, making the whole dish look even more appetizing!!


Other Recipes you will love from my fellow Persian food blogger friends:

1- Roast Chicen & Saffron Rice with Pomegranate Sauce:


12 thoughts on “Saffron Rice with Morello Cherries (Albaloo Polo)

  1. Excellent. This is the original persian Albaloo Polo! There is another version with shredded beef meat, as well. However, it is not as mouthwatering as this one.Cheers.


  2. Very interesting recipe and with pitted sour cherries? I never imagined I could add sour cherries to rice. I want to try this recipe and just experience the taste. Thanks for sharing!!


    1. You know I haven’t yet seen morello cherries used in a savoury dish in any other cuisines, that’s why I think this is such a unique dish! Also, usually sour cherries are cooked with rice, but in the process they sometimes become dry and lose their beautiful plump shape, so here I cooked the rice with the juice and mixed the cherries with the rice after cooking.. Let me know how you go with cooking it 🙂 thanks for commenting, have a lovely weekend :d


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