Serves 5-6
Prep Time: About 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Recipe type: Mixed Rice
Cuisine: Persian
  • 1 medium butternut squash (2 to 2½ pounds)
  • 2 TBSP butter, melted
  • 1 TBSP brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and sliced thin
  • 2 TBSP vegetable oil
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • ⅛ tsp turmeric
  • 7 plump Medjool dates, pitted
  • ⅛ tsp ground ginger
  • 2½ cups Basmati rice
  • ⅔ cup lentils, cooked until tender but firm
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Persian Rice Spice, divided
  • (Optional) ⅛ tsp ground saffron powder mixed with ⅛ cup hot water
  • For the saffron yogurt tahdig:
  • ½ cup low fat yogurt
  • A dash of saffron
  • 1 cup of the par cooked rice
  • 3 TBSP oil
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • If serving fried eggs with this rice, fry 1-2 eggs in butter (per person)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F, center rack. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy cleanup.
  2. Pick through ⅔ cup lentils and rinse under cold water. Add the lentils to a small saucepan and fill with enough water to cover them by 1 inch. Add ⅛ tsp salt. Cook the lentils until tender but firm. Drain and set aside.
  3. Take the pits out of 7 large dates and dice them to medium cubes. Set aside.
  4. Peel and seed the butternut squash. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and cut it into ¾ inch thick slices. Cube the slices to ¾-inch bite size pieces. Place the cubed squash in a bowl and add the melted butter, salt, pepper and brown sugar. Toss to coat. Arrange the squash pieces on the prepared baking sheet. Bake in the preheated 400 F oven for about 25 minutes, or until tender. Set aside.
  5. Meanwhile heat the vegetable oil and butter in a large nonstick skillet. Add the sliced onions and saute over medium heat. When the onion starts turning golden brown on the edges add the turmeric and continue frying until they are rich golden brown. Reduce heat to medium low and add the diced dates and ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger to the fried onions and saute for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and toss with the roasted butternut squash. Set aside.
  6. Please follow the instructions for cooking the Persian rice up to the point where the rice is par cooked and drained in a colander and rinsed under cold water and drained. Remove 1 cup of the rice and reserve it for the TahDig. Toss the remaining par cooked rice with the cooked lentils. Set aside.
  7. To make the TahDig mixture: In a small bowl whisk the yogurt and saffron only until blended. Stir in the 1 cup of par cooked rice until well coated.
  8. Heat 3 tablespoon vegetable oil and 2 tablespoon butter in the same stockpot over medium low heat until hot (not smoking)
  9. Add the saffron yogurt and rice mixture to the hot oil and use the back of your spoon to cover the bottom of the pot evenly.
  10. Add ⅓ of the lentil rice on top of the yogurt and rice mixture; sprinkle with ⅓ of the Persian Rice Spice, add half the butternut squash and date mixture. Repeat this one more time, then add the remaining lentil rice and rice spice on top.
  11. (optional) Add ⅛ tsp ground saffron powder to ⅛ cup of hot water, stir to dissolve. Pour the liquid saffron on top of the layered rice. Cover the lid with a damkesh or kitchen towel. Steam the rice over medium low heat for 1 hour.
  12. Serve the Adas Polo ba Kadoo Halvaii by itself, or with eggs fried in butter (Nimroo), or with chicken.
For the vegan version, please substitute vegetable oil for the butter
Recipe by Persian Mama at