Lamb, apricot and prune polo

This is a Persian dish; polo is the Persian version of pilaf, pilao or plov, cooked with rice. It is rather like a biryani in the way it is finished off.

There are lots of recipes for lamb and rice dishes with dries fruits, this one is derived from Claudia Roden’s classic A Book of Middle Eastern Food.


600g lean cubed lamb

1 chopped onion

1 crushed garlic clove

5 or 6 chopped dried apricots and a similar number of prunes

1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon of ground turmeric

salt and pepper

1 tablespoon of ghee (you could use sunflower or olive oil)

hot water

1 measuring cup of basmati rice



Heat the ghee in a pan with a lid and fry the onions and garlic until soft. Add the lamb and continue to cook until the lamb loses the raw look. Add in the cinnamon and turmeric, season with salt and pepper and add enough hot water to cover the meat. Cover the pan and simmer

After 30 minutes, add the dried fruits and, if the water has evaporated too much add more water. Cover the pan again and simmer until the meat is tender.

In the meanwhile cook the rice using 1 measure of rice and two measures of water until the rice is nearly cooked and the water has been absorbed.

Butter a non-stick pan with a lid and cover the bottom with half the rice. Then layer this with the meat and top with the rest of the rice. Soak a clean tea towel with water and wring it out. place this over the rice and cover with the lid.

Place on the hob on a low heat and steam the rice until it is fully cooked. Hopefully the bottom of theĀ  rice will have formed a nice crisp golden crust.

Turn the cooked polo out onto a serving plate and garnish with chopped coriander and maybe some toasted almonds.



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