Basturma or Basdirma Polo

Basturma or Basdirma polow /pilaf is a traditional Azerbaijani rice dish that is popular in Ardebil an ancient city near Caspian Sea.

The meaning of the word ‘ Basturma or Basdirma’ translates as ‘ to press’ or ‘ pressed’. An other literally meaning of this word is ‘ buried’. Why the name of this dish is Basturma polow? Well I would say, because meat mixture of this dish would be placed between layers of rice and looks like hidden and buried, so is invisible until to be served.


Flavour and taste of this dish with quince and medlar jam is fantastic.One of Ingredients for this amazing dish are quince and medlar jam or marmalade. Flavour and taste of this dish with quince and medlar jam and saffron is fantastic.

Duck, lamb shank, beef and chicken might be used for this rice dish. I have tried with all and I prefer with red meat and has much better taste, but yet it’s your choice 🙂




  • 3 cups Persian or Basmati rice
  • 1 cup crushed walnuts
  • 300g diced meat
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 3-4 tbsp saffron water
  • ½ cup quince jam
  • ½ cup medlar jam
  • 1 large potato, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Pinch of pepper
  • butter
  • vegetable oil




Wash the rice and soak in salted water for 2 hours.

In a pot with water and one of chopped onions, add diced meat and cook the meat until tender. Heat the oil in a pan and saute other onion on medium heat until soft. Add pinch of pepper, cooked meat, 2 tbps of saffron water, quince and medlar jams and crushed walnuts. Gently mix all together. Let to fry for 3-4 minutes on medium heat. Remove from the heat and set aside.


Bring the water to a boil, drain salted water of rice and add rice to the boiled water and cook for 10 minutes. Then using a colander and drain parboiled rice.

Add 3 tbsp vegetable oil to the pot. Set slices of potato at the bottom of the pot. Cover top of potatoes with one cup of rice. Then spread meat mixture all over the rice. Finally spread remaining of the rice top of the meat. Press down the rice. Add rest of saffron water and 1 tbsp butter on the rice and cook the rice on medium heat.

Once rice is ready, hold serving platter over the uncovered pot and unmolding the rice into the platter. Voila you have such a lovely golden crust rice..Serve this dish with pickles specially with olives.

Thanks for reading this recipe. I would be glad have your comments.





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