Looti Polo

Video courtesy of @JUSTFOODDXB

Mehdi Rakin: Persian Soul

Looti Polo is a delightful Persian dish that combines tender lamb (or beef) with green beans and rice.


Written Recipe


  • 500 g lamb leg (or beef cubes)
  • 1/2 piece beef bone with marrow (optional, for extra flavor)
  • 400 g basmati rice
  • 360 g green beans
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Saffron threads (optional, for garnish)


  1. Prepare the Meat:
    • Cut the lamb (or beef) into bite-sized pieces.
    • In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium heat.
    • Add the chopped onion and sauté until golden brown.
    • Add the meat and beef bone (if using) to the pot. Season with salt, pepper, turmeric, and ground cinnamon. Sauté until the meat is browned on all sides.
  2. Add Green Beans:
    • Trim the ends of the green beans and cut them into 2-inch pieces.
    • Add the green beans to the pot with the meat. Mix well.
    • Dilute the tomato paste in 1/4 cup of water and pour it over the meat and beans.
    • Cover the pot and let it simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.
  3. Prepare the Rice:
    • Rinse the basmati rice under cold water until the water runs clear.
    • In a separate pot, bring water to a boil (about 4 cups of water for 2 cups of rice).
    • Add salt to the boiling water and then add the rinsed rice.
    • Cook the rice until it’s partially cooked (about 5-7 minutes). Drain and set aside.
  4. Layering the Dish:
    • In the same pot used for cooking the rice, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
    • Place a layer of partially cooked rice at the bottom of the pot.
    • Add a layer of the meat and green bean mixture on top of the rice.
    • Repeat the layers, finishing with a layer of rice on top.
    • Create small holes in the rice using the handle of a wooden spoon to allow steam to escape.
  5. Steam the Looti Polo:
    • Cover the pot with a clean kitchen towel or a tight-fitting lid.
    • Cook over low heat for about 1 hour, allowing the rice to steam and absorb the flavors from the meat and beans.
    • If using saffron, dissolve a pinch of saffron threads in a few tablespoons of hot water and drizzle it over the top layer of rice for a beautiful golden color.
  6. Serve:
    • Gently fluff the rice with a fork.
    • Serve the Looti Polo hot, garnished with saffron threads if desired.
    • Enjoy this comforting and aromatic Persian dish with family and friends!

Remember to adjust the seasoning according to your taste preferences. Bon appétit!

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