Ghanbar Polo is a delicious Iranian dish whose origin goes back to the city of Shiraz, that’s why it is called Ghanbar Polo Shirazi.
The main ingredients of this food include: small meatballs, fried onions, walnuts, and raisins. The aroma of meatballs is wonderful, Because they are poured into the pomegranate paste and saffron, and get a very fine and special taste.
Even though it is made from tiny meatballs like Kalam Polo, But the taste of meatballs in Ghanbar polo is different and sour and lovely.
Especially if you make this dish with Tahdig (bottom of the pot) that I have taught in this post, your food will look more attractive and charming.
It is also easy to make, we don’t need to dirty many dishes, we fry all the ingredients in a pan and add them to the rice.
How To Make Ghanbar Polo?
Follow the steps below to make delicious and authentic Iranian Ghanbar Polo:
- Soak the rice 1 hour before.
- Soak the raisins.
- Chop the walnuts.
Step 1 – Prepare the meatballs
Tiny meatballs (Koofteh Ghelgheli) are present in many Iranian Polos, which are made with ground beef, and there is a same method for making meatballs. I advise see the list of Iranian dishes made with ground beef.
First, finely grate 1 onion and extract its juice completely.
Add ground beef to the onion. Add salt, turmeric, and pepper. Then knead for a few minutes until the ingredients are well combined.
Take the size of the hazelnut from the ground beef. Roll it in the palm of your hand until it becomes round and turns into a meatball. Prepare all the ground beef in the form of meatballs and put them in a tray.
Then heat a pan and pour some oil in it. Let the oil get hot. Fry the meatballs. Then take them out of the pan and set them aside.
Step 2- Prepare the fried onions, raisins, and walnuts.
Dice the big onion and fry it in a pan until it turns golden.
Add the chopped walnuts to the frying onion. Fry a little.
Add raisins to onions and walnuts while frying. Add a little turmeric, curry powder, or Iranian polo spice.
In the end, add the meatballs.
Step 3- Add pomegranate paste and saffron
The most delicious step of making Ghanbar Polo is this step; Because the special and wonderful taste of these meatballs is from pomegranate paste.
Dilute the pomegranate paste with a few spoons of boiling water. Add pomegranate paste and dissolved saffron to onions, walnuts, raisins, and meatballs.
Let it stay on the heat for about 2 minutes so that the excess water evaporates and all the ingredients taste like pomegranate paste. Then turn off the heat.
Step 4- Cooking rice
Pour water into a pot and heat until it boils. The water should be 1.5 to 2 times the level of the rice.
Put the rice in boiling water. Let it boil for about 4 to 7 minutes until Al dente.
The exact time depends on your type of rice. Al dente means that the outside of the rice grains is cooked and soft, but the inside is still a little hard.
When the rice is Al dente, pour it into the colander.
Step 5 – Making Tahdig For Ghanbar Polo (optional)
Tahdig is a popular Iranian side dish. You can have a simple Tahdig or bread Tahdig.
To have a simple Tahdig:
It is enough to pour some oil into the pot, and pour the rice in it.
After steaming the rice for 40 minutes, you will have a layer of crispy rice at the bottom of the pot.
To have the bread tahdig follow these steps:
Cut pieces of bread with scissors. Pour oil into the pot and heat it. Put the bread pieces in it and fry both sides of them.
If you need more information about the Bread Tahdig, I have covered it completely in another post.
Also, Potato Tahdig is another tasty choice, which is very delicious and lovely next to the pilaf.
Step 6 – Steaming Ghanbar Polo
After making the Tahdig, pour half of the rice into the pot.
Put the meatballs and other fried stuff in the middle of it. Don’t let it stick to the corners of the pot, collect it in the middle. If it sticks to the edges will burn.
Pour the rest of the rice on it. Pour a few spoons of oil. Then pour 2 spoons of saffron. Make holes with the back of a spoon, which will allow the steam to reach all parts of the rice.
Let it steam for 40 to 60 minutes. The heat should be gentle so that the rice is slowly steamed, and the Tahdig becomes crispy and golden.
Final step – Ghanbar Polo Shirazi is ready.
After 40 minutes, remove the lid of the pot and test some of the rice. Stir it with a spatula until the rice is well mixed with the rest of the ingredients.
Pour into a serving plate. Serve with fresh vegetables, yogurt, and pickles.
- If your pomegranate paste is too sour, you can add 1 spoon of grape molasses to it, which balances and softens the taste.
Ghanbar Polo Recipe
- 3 cup Rice
- 300 grams Ground Beef
- ½ cup Chopped Walnuts
- ½ cup Raisins
- 2 Onions 1 medium for meatballs and 1 large for Polo
- 3 tbsp Dissolved Saffron
- Oil as needed
- Turmeric, and Black pepper as needed
- 1½ Salt 1 tablespoon for rice and ½ for meatballs
- Soak the rice 1 hour before.
- Soak the raisins.
- Chop the walnuts.
- Grate 1 medium onion. Take its water completely. Combine with ground beef. Add ½ spoon of salt and some spices. knead ingredients together.
- Take the size of a hazelnut (or smaller) from the ground beef. Roll it in your hand until it becomes round.
- Fry the meatballs in a pan. Remove and set aside.
- Fry a large onion.
- Add walnuts.
- Add raisins.
- Add the meatballs.
- Dilute the pomegranate paste with a few spoons of boiling water. Add saffron to it. Pour over the meatballs and the rest of the ingredients. Turn it off after 2 minutes.
- Pour water into a pot and let it boil.
- Pour the rice into the boiling water. Add salt and oil. Let it cook for about 4 to 7 minutes until al dente.
- Pour the rice into the colander.
- Put the pot on low heat. Pour oil. Put bread or potatoes at the bottom of the pot to have tahdig (optional).
- Pour half of the rice into the bottom of the pot. Pour the meatballs, fried onions, raisins, and walnuts on it.
- Pour the rest of the rice.
- Pour 2 spoons of saffron. Let it steam for 40 to 60 minutes.
Ghanbar Polo Shirazi is a delicious and lovely dish of Iranian culture.
Meatballs soaked in pomegranate paste, with fried onions, walnuts, and raisins is a great combination and kids will love it.
In another recipe, I have included how to prepare Zarshek Polow Ba Koofteh (Barberry Rice With Iranian Meatballs). This dish is very similar to Qanbar polo, with the difference that barberry is used in it, and it has a wonderful sour and mellow taste.
Despite their similarity to each other, their taste is different from Ghanbar Polo and I suggest you try it.
Adas Polo (Persian Rice And Lentils) is also famous and popular Iranian dish that is made with ground beef and does not have rare ingredients. Their ingredients can be found in every home.
Have you ever tried any of these foods? Share with me in the comments.