Kalam Polo

December 5, 2019  •  , ,

I first tasted kalam polo in Shiraz, where I was told it is the specialty of the city. Normally, I am not a big fan of cooked cabbage, but here it is light, fragrant with turmeric, saffron, cumin and it blends perfectly with the rice and meat. The pilaf is refined and just delicious. I ordered it at an art cafĂ©, and although the portions were enormous, I licked the plate clean. Their version had a garnish of pickled red cabbage which provided just the right acidic and crunchy contrast to the pilaf. To reproduce the recipe at home, I checked out my two Iranian cookbooks but was disappointed with the recipes. Najmieh’s recipe included lots of tomatoes (and I did not taste any tomatoes in the Shiraz one) and Margaret Shaida’s recipe was rather short and only had one teaspoon of dill in the entire pilaf. Here is my version, which is a combo of what I found out there online, and my recollection of the taste. In this dish, the cabbage gets cooked first separately (panfried) and in doing so, its volume shrinks by at least one half. So no need to skimp on cabbage!

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