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HomeWorld Traditional RecipesIranian - Persian Traditional RecipesAuthentic Recipe of Kalam Polo. Savory Iranian-Persian Traditional Cabbage Rice.

Authentic Recipe of Kalam Polo. Savory Iranian-Persian Traditional Cabbage Rice.

Kalam polo is a rice dish made with cabbage and meat. It has a blend of vegetables and traditional Persian rice spices like saffron and cinnamon.

Things to know about Kalam Polo Recipe

Kalam in Persian means ‘cabbage.’ This delicious dish is made all over Iran complemented with red meat or chicken to get a rich flavor. It’s a tahdig-style rice dish. Tahdig is made when the bottom of the pot is layered with some extra oil or vegetable to get a crunchy layer of rice.

This pot is then inverted into a platter to serve with a crunchy layer. Kalam polo is made in a variety of tahdig styles, the most common is the use of potatoes or bread or simply adding a little ghee or vegetable at the base or rice.

Cabbage is a favorite vegetable all over Iran, so its use in rice is also liked in the form of polo or other sauces to complement steamed rice.

Savory Iranian Traditional Cabbage Rice. Authentic Recipe of Kalam Polo.

Local Recipe Name with Local Characters: پلو کلم
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— General Atributes of This Recipe:

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Occasional Cooking Weekend Family Meal Recipes


Servings 4 People
Calories / Serving 914 kcal


Cabbage and Meat Sauce

  • 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1 pc Onion Large, thinly chopped
  • 3 cloves Garlic Minced
  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • 125 grams (4.41 oz) Lamb Diced, small cubes
  • 125 grams (4.41 oz) Beef Diced, small cubes
  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder – Curcuma Powder
  • 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 3 tbsp Butter
  • 400 grams (14.11 oz) Cabbage
  • 1 cup Water Hot
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  • 500 grams (1.1 lb) Basmati Rice
  • 7 cups Water
  • 2 tsp Salt


  • 3 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 3 tbsp Water
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon Powder


Cabbage and Meat Sauce

  • Take a pan; add vegetable oil.
  • Add onion and fry until golden brown.
  • Then add garlic, cook until light brown.
  • Add oil and add meat cubes.
  • Fry the meat for 5-10 minutes, until it’s soft and changes color.
  • Then add spices, turmeric, black pepper and salt.
  • In another pan add butter, melt it and add chopped cabbage.
  • Cook for 5 minutes with the lid on.
  • Then fry cabbage for 10 minutes without the lid.
  • Mix both fried cabbage and meat in one pan.
  • Add hot water and simmer cook for 5-10 minutes.


  • Take a large pot. Add water and bring it to a boil.
  • Add rice and salt.
  • Cook until rice is soft at the edges and hard at the center. It will take about 5-7 minutes.
  • Drain the rice in a colander and run cool water over the rice.


  • Take a large pan, coat its base with oil and add water.

— Specific Atributes of This Recipe:

I am looking for… No-Baking is Required Recipes
Religious Cooking Halal Recipes


Calories: 914kcalCarbohydrates: 108gProtein: 21gFat: 44gSaturated Fat: 14gPolyunsaturated Fat: 11gMonounsaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 68mgSodium: 1900mgPotassium: 501mgFiber: 5gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 365IUVitamin C: 37mgCalcium: 116mgIron: 3mg
Keyword Kalam Polo Recipe, Traditional Iranian Cabbage Rrice, پلو کلم
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Cooking tip for making Kalam Polo

  • Steaming the rice poke hole until the base will fasten the evaporation process. Different types of basmati rice take different times to cook. It’s better to keep checking firmness while boiling.
  • You can use ground meat.
  • Chicken or turkey can be added instead of red meat.
  • Add sliced potatoes or bread at the base to get a more elaborate tahdig.
  • Sprinkles with some saffron.
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What to serve with Kalam Polo?

Served with a thinly chopped salad called Sherazi salad, yogurt, pickles called torshi, or meatballs.

Variations of Kalam Polo

Vegetarian Kalam polo is cooked without meat. Only increase the quantity of cabbage to cook the vegetarian version. Shirazi Kalam polo is made with meatballs.

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