Havij polo is a Persian favorite with carrots, rice, and meat. There are no "exotic" ingredients to buy. It is worth the trouble as my Iranian husband and my 2 kids love it, and they are very picky eaters. Iranians generally use more rice, but we like more carrots and less rice.


Recipe Summary

1 hr 25 mins
1 hr 55 mins
30 mins
8 servings


Original recipe yields 8 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Saute onion in butter in a large skillet over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove onion to a bowl, leaving any excess butter in the skillet.

  • Sprinkle meat with cinnamon and salt; cook in the skillet in the remaining butter until browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer meat to a small pot, leaving butter in the skillet. Add carrots to the skillet and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove carrots to a bowl; set skillet aside.

  • Add water to the meat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove meat and mix with reserved onions. Pour 1 cup cooking water into the skillet used to cook the vegetables and meat. Add sugar; mix until completely dissolved. Set sauce aside.

  • While the meat is cooking, place rice in a colander and rinse several times with warm water to remove starch. Transfer to a bowl and soak for 5 to 10 minutes.

  • Bring 6 cups salty water to a boil in a large saucepan. Drain rice and add to the boiling water. Boil, stirring occasionally to prevent grains from sticking together, until rice is no longer crunchy but still quite firm, 5 to 10 minutes. Drain.

  • Butter the bottom of a large pot and top with several layers of rice, the meat-onion mixture, and carrots. Pour sauce over top. Cover the underside of the pot lid with a clean dish towel and place tightly on the pot to absorb moisture.

  • Cook over low heat until crunchy on the bottom, about 30 minutes, checking often near the end to prevent burning.

Cook's Notes:

Margarine can be used in place of butter, and lamb can be substituted for beef.

Some people peel and thinly slice regular carrots, but to save time, I use baby carrots and zap them in the microwave for 2 minutes to make them easier to grate using a food chopper, blender, or food processor.

Nutrition Facts

427 calories; protein 13.1g; carbohydrates 45.7g; fat 21g; cholesterol 65.6mg; sodium 282.9mg. Full Nutrition