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Eslomboli Polo A Taste from Iran

Persian Culture

Intorduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 History & Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Ingredients . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Recipe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Persian Spice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Preparing Rice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Referrences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21


he food that I am about to introduce to you in this book is called Eslomboli polo. It is an ancient Persian food that its history perhaps can be traced back to the Mesopotamian cluture. One of the earliest civilizations on earth that existed from the begining of the written history in 3100 BC. This civilization took place in the delta of two rivers called Tigris and Euphrades in south west Asia, above the Persian gulf, where people discovered agriculture for the first time and lived a rich & prosperous life utilizing their land to support their financial needs.

Onion and tomato are two major ingrediants for many various Persian food recipes which are influenced by Ancient Mesopltamian culture.

This delta that was located between the Tigris and Euphrates was prosperous with the climate of four seasons, abundant rains and a rich land suitable for planting many different types of produce. Early people who lived in this area were hunters who used spears, slign shots, arrowst and fish net to hunt and farmers that who knew how to grow dates, grapes, figs, melons, apples, eggplant, onions, radishes, beans, lettuce wheat, barley, millet, beans, and sesame seeds. Local food in this region is usually simple with many different vegetables and spice applied, sometimes with added meat, or cheese, tofu, or vegetables such as eggplant and potato and date.



owever, the greatest heritage of Mesoptamia is the first written story of the history that is in the form of carved stone tablets that was discovered here, less than a century ago. These tablets deascribe the culture, rituals and the belief system of the people of this region, in the minimal and metaphoric language of deities who were the first inspiration for their next religions that were shaped around these lands, hundreds and thousands of years later.

Cylinder Seal from Ur, an important Sumerian city-state in ancient Mesopotamia, located at south Iraq, depicting Gilgamesh and Enkidu two Sumerian heroes.


Depiction of Ishtar, the most popular and respected East Semitic (Akkadian Assyrian, Babylonian) goddess of fertility, love, war, and sex. The counterpart to the Sumerian Inanna, the later Mesopotamian goddess of hunt, marriage and pregnant women/birth.

An ancient Persian Breakfast that is still popular among many Iranian people.


My mother was the master of our kitchen when I was kid, but my father took over the kitchen once he got retired and gave my mother a break. He knew a few recipes from his college years, and learned more from my mother as cooking became his favorite hobby after retierment. He is not a huge fan of processed food, or eating outside, he spends a lot of time preparing the dishes he likes to make from scratch, everyday. His cooking begins with shopping the ingredients for what he decides to make that day, early in the morning. Then he slowly washes, cuts, mixes and cooks them while listening to the music, or a talk show on the radio. He doesn’t like to be disturbed while cooking, which is why I never got a chance to learn how to cook from him as I grew up.

My mother is the reason why I love cooking. She is a good cook when she used to spend more time in the kitchen and loved to explain how she cooks her dish, whenever I was ready to hear it. I have some good memories from the taste and the smell of her food that I remember trying for the first time, which became a motivation for me later in life to take cooking seriously and learn how to cook many different Iranian and world dishes.

Eslomboli polo is one of those dishes that I loved having even when she was cooking it more than a few times a month. It was easy to cook, and my mother was more than happy to make it when she was back home from her teaching job, tired and she had to prepare a meal for me and my brothers. Here in this book I am going to share the love and joy that I have felt growing up on this food as one of the major items in my parents favorite food list.

Eslomboli polo is considered a close sibling of estomboli polo which has the same recipe as Slamboli polo with added green beans. The origin of estomboli polo perhaps goes back to Istanbul in Turkey that is influenced by Mediteranian culture, but eslomboli polo is the popluar version of this dish in Iran, the current land left from what once used to be called Persia. While many of the Persian food recipes are time cosuming and require hours and sometime days of prep, eslomboli polo has an easy and somewhat less time consuming recipe to cook. It is also a delicious food that many iranians would crave to taste at least once a month.


Tomatoes Onion Rice Garlic cloves Turmeric Cinnamon Tomato paste (rob) Olive oil Salt & Pepper Dried Rose Petals Ground Saffaron

2 -3 1-2 medium 2 cups 3 1 tsp 1 tsp 1tsp 1 tsp a pinch a pinch a pinch


Golabgiran Processing the Rose


here are annual cermonies held in different regions in Iran for picking roses and turning them into rose water through a distillation process. This cermony has a long tail in the History of the Persian culture. Kashan is the main provience with roses where most of these cermonies are held. Now a days Kashan holds Rose Water making tours for domestic and international tourists who are intrested in watching this process called Golabgiran.


Preparing the Onion I usually use white onion for my cooking, but you can also use the yellow onion which is more popular in Persian recipes. Put your pan on the stove on a low flame and add the olive oil and let it get warm slowly as you begin cutting your onion (not more than 10 minutes)

This is how I cut my onion into pieces. Some people prefer it diced. It’s up to you how you prefer to taste it in your food. As long as it is not diced too small that would produce more juice and wouldruin your rice while getting cooked with it later.

Your pan including the hot oil must be ready now. Add the onion and spread it around the pan and avoid stirring it for a good 10-15 minutes, or until it turns to gold color on one side. Then stir and let the other side get slightly crisp and gold.


Lamb is the common meat to add to eslamboli polo. However, some people prefer chicken, beef, or no meat. If you like to add meat to eslomboli polo, just simply cook it in a pot separately with no water, on a low heat, until it gets brown and tender. Then you can add it to the marinated onion, or serve it on your dish.


Persian Spice As you’re waiting for the onion to turn to gold color, add the spice. I usually use the spice mix that my father made for me when I was moving to California. It’s a special spice mix, made for a few different Iranian dishes lsuch as Khoresh gheymeh, Loobia polo and eslomboli polo. You can also add tumeric, cinammon, dried rose petals and saffaron as the substitute for spice mix, which are the main elements of the original spice mix. Not only responsible for the taste, these spice help with digesting and absorbing the food better too.


Ro’b is the tomato paste in Farsi. It’s sauce for preparing a good portion of Iranian dishes. Add one and a half table spoon of ro’b, or a cup of fresh tomatto puree to the pan of spcied onion and toss it for a few minutes, then add a quarter cup of boiled water, put the top of the pan on and let it cook for 5-7 minutes.


Rice is high in complex carbohydrates, contains almost no fat, is cholesterol free, and is low in sodium, unless you add salt to the cooking water. Generally all rice - both brown and white - is considered a good source of vitamins and minerals. Rice is a fair source of protein containing all eight essential amino acids. It is low in the amino acid lysine, which is found in beans making the classic combination of rice and beans, popularly known as complimentary proteins, a particularly healthful dish. Rice is gluten free and easily digestible making it a good choice for infants and people with wheat allergies or digestive problems.

Preparing the Rice Wash the rice thoroughly with water once or twice, and drain. Then boil it in a pot with 3 quarter water with an open top, until it becomes soft on the outside, yet still slightly firm at its core. This process usually takes 15-20 minutes. Drain and rinse with water for a minute.


Put the pot back on the flame after washing it off the residue of rice in boiling water. Add a table spoon of oil while the pot is still wet with water at the bottom.

Wait until you hear the sizzling sound of the oil and water mixing on heat. Now start to put the drained rice back into the pot with a spatchula. Cover each layer of rice ( each layer 1 inch high) with a layer of marinated onion.


Create a cone shape structure inside the pot with layered rice and marinated onion.

Close the top and let it sit on a mild flame for almost an hour.


Masto Khiar Persian Sauce for Rice Dishes

Here I want to show you how to make a delicious white sauces with cucamber, suitable to serve with any Persian dish. Select one, or two cucambers preferably with no stain on the skin. Stains make the cumcamber bitter once they appear. You can choose to keep some of the skin, or rmove it depends on what you prefer.

Shred the cucamber(s) in a mixing bowel and add a pinch of dried mint, thyme, rose petal and salt and peper. Then add the yogurt and stir until they all get fully mixed. You can also use the spice on the top as rnish like the image below, designed the by my mother.


Nooshe! Your eslomboli polo must be ready after almost an hour of getting cooked on a low heat. You can place it in a large tray and add the meat on the top if it was not already mixed in the marinated onion before. Noosh/Cheers!



Eslamboli Polo, a Persian Dish  

Perhaps one of the most common dishes from ancient Mesopotamian

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