By Sonia Azimi

“I love a dish that has a history and a story. Ghambar Polo originated in Shiraz, Iran and it has been said it tastes so good, it takes your “Gham” (sadness in Persian) away.” –

By Sonia Azimi (Persian Love Food Blog on Facebook, and @persian _love_blog on Instagram)


Meatballs –
500g lamb mince
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 onion grated, liquid removed
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cinnamon
Salt and pepper to taste

Rice –
2 cups of rice
2 finely chopped onions
1 tsp turmeric
1 cup sultanas
1/2 cup slivered almonds (optional)
1/3 cup Pomegranate molasses
1/3 cup grape molasses
Brewed saffron


First, make your meatballs. Place all your ingredients in a bowl and knead well until sticky and soft. Roll your meat mixture into small balls and set aside. You should get at least 30 small meatballs. Next, fry your meatballs gently in a little oil until cooked, then set aside.

From here, parboil your rice in plenty of water, drain, and then steam/ cook through in a pan for 30 minutes until fluffy and separated. You can also make tahdig as well if you wish.

Next, cook your onions until soft and translucent. Add turmeric, sultanas, almonds, pomegranate molasses, and grape molasses. Cook thoroughly until sticky and reduced. Add salt and pepper to taste. If you prefer more of a sweeter taste, add more grape molasses. If you prefer a more sour taste, add more pomegranate molasses. Take it off heat, drain the liquid from the sultana mixture and set both liquid and mixture aside.

From here, take half of your rice and gently mix with the brewed saffron. Using the other half of the rice, mix with the liquid from the sultana mixture. Place on a platter in a nice pattern (as pictured). Add the meatballs and sultana mixture (you can also add extra fried onions too) and serve!


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