United Arab Emirates – Shirin Polo

by Adelina Aida

This dish is a very sweet and nice dish of rice. It consists of sweet rice, dry fruits, fresh fruits, barberries, etc. It is special Persian sweet rice served at weddings and special festivals. It is very special rice full of heavy, rich ingredients. This is served like the best Royal dessert. This is also known as Wedding rice and Royal rice. It also has thin strips of carrots and citrus zest. This combination gives very well flavors in each bite. Saffron is added that makes it yellow in color. With color fruits and nuts crunchiness makes it very special.

Rice with sweet carrots, nuts, Citrus zest, almonds, pistachios, coconut, and raisins. The color and festive look of this rice are a very palatable and delicious-looking dish. All the colors and visible nuts on the top of yellow aromatic rice. This is the best dessert dish for a family dinner or some festivals.

This dish is the Speciality of PERSIA. This is also very famous in other countries like

  • Oman
  • Persia
  • Dubai
  • Syria
  • Iran
  • Egypt
  • Singapore
  • Kuwait
  • India

In Persia, this is a festival dish. This is served by Persian Jewish on their New year, Holidays, etc. They used to cook Shirin Polo on days like :

  • PURIM : It is the Jewish Holiday for saving the people from Hanan.
  • PESACH : It is the holiday on the 15th of the Hebrew month of Nisan.
  • ROSH HASANAH : Head of the new year, a holiday
  • NOWRUZ : Persian New years

This dish has many other names like

This dish has many names complementary to their characteristics and ingredients :

  • Purim Rice
  • Persian Wedding rice
  • Persian Sweet rice
  • Javaher polo
  • Shirin Polo
  • Rosh Hashanah rice
  • Jeweled Rice
  • Nowruz rice


Shirin Polo is a very unique name, in which SHIRIN means SWEET and POLO means RICE.

This dish is very similar to many other dishes from other same dishes but originated from other Asian countries. Like JEWELED RICE from Iran has almost the same ingredients and same cooking method but they have different origins and names so they are said to be different dishes.

A very similar dish from India is known as ZARDA. This means yellow-colored sweet rice. Totally the same color, the same addition of nuts and fruits but the sweetness level is quite high. Other than that they are said to be different dishes.


In many areas, small meat chunks are also added to this dish to make it more special because we all know, the Arab and people of the middle east love to have meat in their any dish. So this is also an option to add meat small bite-size pieces to the dish.


Rice is the main ingredient in which all the ingredients have to add and mixed. Rice is first soaked in water because this will make it cook quickly and very soft. The soaked rice must be boil and after that other ingredients are added.

The color of rice is yellow, we use mostly natural ingredients to make it yellow like turmeric powder and saffron but artificial food is also added to make it nice yellow in color.

When sweetener and nuts are added it cook on medium to a high flame that makes it TAHDIG

TAHDIG : This is the crunchy crust of rice when the cook is at the bottom of the pot. This is the very delicious and crispy crunchy effect of rice.

It seems like a rice cake of full bowl or mold shaped.


Silver almonds are another complementary nut of this dish. It is very special and can be prepared at home. It is also sold in markets and can be bought in packets.

Almonds have to blanch first in hot water or you can boil it. Remove the brown skin before it cools down. Then split into two halves or cut length-wise. Stick silver paper to these almonds and add to this dish.


Dried citrus zest is also very sour and sweet at the same time. Zest of fresh orange, lemon, or tamarind can be dried and use in this dish. Avoid peeling white portion of the skin of citrus fruit that will make the dish bitter and bad in taste.

ZESTER is the device to get fruits zest.


Small thin slices of carrots are also added to this rice dish.


There are a huge list of dry fruits we can add to this dish

  • Almonds
  • Raisins
  • Cashew
  • Pistachio
  • Peanuts
  • Pinenuts
  • Dry dates


To give yellow color we can add natural ingredients and also used artificial ones :

  • Turmeric powder
  • Saffrons
  • Artificial food color


Garnish this dish with :

  • Silver paper
  • Fresh fruits
  • Coagulated milk solids, etc.


  • Boiled Eggs
  • spiced baked chicken
  • Barberries
  • Apricots
  • Cashew nuts


  1. basmati rice = 3 cup
  2. Fried onion = 1/4 cup
  3. Thin carrot strips = 1/2 cup
  4. Sugar = 1/2 cup
  5. Butter = 2 tbsp
  6. Silver almonds = 1/4 cups
  7. Pistachio = 1/4 cup
  8. Orange zest dried = 2 tbsp
  9. Raisins = 1/4 cup
  10. powdered saffron = 1 tsp
  11. Turmeric powder = 1 tsp
  12. Coconut powder = tbsp


  1. Take a pot and Boil some water with sugar to make a syrup. Then add carrot stripes to it.
  2. Keep on mixing and after 5 minutes take out the caramelized stripes.
  3. Reserve the sugar syrup and move to next step.
  4. Now take butter in a pan add fried onions and rice that are aoked before.
  5. Add water of 3 glass with turmeric powder and saffron to cook rice a nice yellow color.
  6. Cook rice for 20 minutes.
  7. Now take a frying pan with some butter and pistachios, almonds, and raisins.
  8. Add the reserved syrup on nuts.
  9. When rice is ready add this nutsand sugar syrup in the rice and serve with garnished.
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