Baghala Polo -- Iranian Rice With Lamb, Dill and Lima Beans

"I found this in a cookbook of Middle Eastern cooking and posted it by request. I have not yet tried it. The recipe says you can use frozen lima beans for fresh, if you prefer."
photo by a user photo by a user
Ready In:
2hrs 15mins




  • In a heavy 3-4 quart casserole, with a tightly fitting lid, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter over a medium heat.
  • Add the onions and cook for about 10 minutes or until the slices are browned.
  • You will need to stir them often.
  • Use a slotted spoon to remove them from the pan and onto a plate.
  • Set aside.
  • Working in batches, brown the lamb cubes in the remaining fat in the dish.
  • As they brown, take them out of the dish and put them on the plate with the onions.
  • Pour the 3 cups of water into the casserole and bring it to a boil, scraping to loosen any brown particles clinging to the dish.
  • Return the lamb and onion to the dish, add the salt and reduce the heat to low.
  • Cover tightly and simmer for about an hour or untilt he lamb is tender and doesn't show any resistance when pierced.
  • Transfer the onions, lamb and all the cooking liquid to a large bowl.
  • Set the casserole aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a 5-6 quart saucepan.
  • Pour in the rice in a slow, thin stream so the water does not stop boiling.
  • Stir a couple times and boil for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the dill and lima beans and drain in a fine sieve.
  • Ladle about half of the rice mixture into the smaller casserole and moisten it with 1/2 cup of the lamb cooking liquid.
  • Then use a spatula or spoon to spread the rice mixture to the edges of the pan.
  • Use a slotted spoon to return the lamb and onions to the casserole and smooth them over the rice.
  • Spread the remaining rice mixture on top.
  • Combine 2 tablespoons of the melted butter with 6 tablespoons of the lamb broth and pour it over the rice.
  • Bring the casserole to a boil over high heat.
  • Cover tightly and bake on a middle oven shelf for 30-40 minutes or until the beans are tender and rice has absorbed the liquid.
  • To serve, spoon about a cup of the rice mixture into a small bowl.
  • Add the dissolved saffron and stir until the rice is bright yellow.
  • Spread about half the remaining rice on a heated platter and arrange the lamb over it.
  • Cover the lamb with the rest of the plain rice and garnish with the saffron rice.
  • Pour the remaining 6 tablespoons butter over the top.

Questions & Replies

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  1. I found this dish delicious. Because it's a bit of work, make enough for a few days because it's great or better the next day!
  2. I did enjoy this. The lamb and dill combination was unique and a pleasent suprise. I thought that it was just a little too much effort and a little too time consuming.
  3. I just wanted to comment that you could make this recipe without the lamb and onion and it would still be delicious. Rice and all that dill may sound unusual, but it is outstanding--one of my favorite foods ever.


This is a picture of me and my husband in Portugal, climbing up above the clouds with our bikes. Right now we are travelling around the world on our bicycles, so I only pop onto Zaar occasionally, when internet connections and time allow me to. If I don't reply to a message about one of my recipes, now you know why! Our trip may take several years so if it's urgent, it's probably better for you to post in the forums ;) Good food is really important to me -- I am happy to pay extra for food that I feel is produced in a sustainable and ethical way and always try to eat using seasonal produce. When we were in the UK we rarely shopped at supermarkets, trying instead to favour small producers, although we were very lucky in that we lived in London and there was lots of choice. We also were fortunate enough to have a weekly organic veg box delivered to our door, filled with so many lovely vegetables for very little money. It really opened my horizons in terms of the variety of vegetables I eat. If you're in the UK, check out Riverford for a box supplier as they're amazing! When I'm not eating I love to take pictures and travel with my husband. <img src="">
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