Beef and Green Bean Rice (Loobia Polo)
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Loobia Polo has been one of my favourite Persian rice dishes since I was a little kid. Its ingredients are rather simple to put together, but it's truly an all-in-one kind of dish. I love it with a side of chutney or a big scoop of greek yogurt.
This is my grandmother's recipe and comes with instructions on how to make tahdig, the delicious crusted lavash bread and rice on the bottom of the pan.
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Yield: 8 servings
- 2 cups Basmati rice, soaked in salt water for a couple hours
- 4 cups cold water
- 3 Tbsp water
- 3 Tbsp cooking oil
- 3 large squares of lavash bread
- 1 tsp cooking oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 lb fresh green beans, cleaned and cut to 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 lb stewing or steak beef, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp allspice
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 Tbsp tomato paste
- Cooking this rice will be similar to cooking pasta. Bring water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Add rice to the pot and cook until it's al dente: firm in the middle and soft on the outside.
- Remove from heat and quickly rinse the rice with cold water in a colander to remove starches. Drain very well and set aside.
- Add 1 teaspoon of oil to a large pan and cook onions until translucent.
- Add green beans to the onions and cook a couple minutes.
- Add the tomato paste and fry for about a minute.
- Pour the meat chunks into the onion bean mixture. Cook until a lot of the meat's juices are released. Add the turmeric.
- Add the allspice and mix well. Cook down this mixture until most of the juices evaporate.
- Add 3 tablespoons of water and 3 tablespoons of oil to the bottom of a large pot.
- Lay the pieces of lavash bread over the water and oil, making sure the bottom of the pot is completely covered.
- Sprinkle in a small layer of rice (don't mash it in) so air gets trapped between the grains.
- Add a small layer of the meat and green bean mixture on top.
- Continue staggering layers until you've put in all the rice and beef mixture. Use the handle of a wooden spoon or spatula to poke about 6 holes all the way down the rice to the bottom of the pot.
- Cover pot with a lid and cook over medium high heat until it steams, about 5 minutes. Place a paper towel under the lid and reduce heat to low. Cook for 30 minutes.
- Spoon out the rice onto a serving platter and break up the pieces of tahdig. Serve together.
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