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Friday, December 25, 2009

Loobia Polo - Persian Green Bean Pilaf



Taste 4 (out of 5)

Difficulty 4 (out of 5)


- 2 lb / 900 gr ground beef or lamb

- 2 lb / 900 gr green beans

- 1 large onion

- 2 tomatoes

- 3 tbsp tomato sauce

- 1 tbsp lemon juice

- 4 cups rice

- 1 tsp turmeric

- 4 tbsp canola oil

- salt and black pepper to taste

Total 6-8 servings


1. Place the rice in a bowl, fill the bowl with warm water and gently wash with your fingers. The starch from rice will make the water white. Drain the rice and repeat 3-4 times until the water remains clear. Washing out the starch makes the rice less sticky, so that the grains remain separate after cooking. Fill the bowl with water, add about a teaspoon of salt and let stand, preferably for 3-4 hours, but can be less if you did not plan it ahead of time.

2. In a large pot, preheat 2 tbsp canola oil. Slice the onion and fry on low-medium heat until golden brown for about 10-15 minutes. Remove the onions from the pot, add the ground meat and saute on medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. In a separate medium sized pot boil water. Place the tomatoes in the boiling water for about 30 seconds to a minute. Remove the tomatoes and let cool or wash under cold water to speed up the cooling. Now it should be easy to peel to tomato skin with your fingers.

4. Now use the boiling water for the rice. Wash the rice one last time and add to the boiling water. Let boil for 5 minutes, at the end add the turmeric, stir until all the rice is equally yellow colored, remove from the stove top and drain.

5. In the meantime grind the onion and the peeled tomatoes in a blender. Add the resulting mixture to the meat. Cut the green beans in halves and also add to the pot. Stir in the tomato sauce, lemon juice, salt and pepper and let simmer for 15 more minutes.

6. Temporarily remove the meat into another dish. Do not wash the large pot. Add 2 tbsp of canola oil and let warm a little. Now spread a layer of rice at the bottom of the pot. Add a layer of meat. Continue building layers of rice and then meat until you have about 3 layers of each kind (6 layers total). Do not stir. With an end of a wooden spoon, create 3 holes across all the layers touching the bottom of the pan (to allow the steam to escape from the bottom). Cover the pot and place a paper towel right below the cover to absorb the vapors. Cook over medium-low heat for 30 minutes without lifting the lid. This process will allow the rice to cook evenly and will generate a crispy rice layer at the bottom, called tah-deeg.


This is a nice warm dish, great for cold evenings. Once ready it’s easy to store and reheat for later use, since it’s a one pot dish. But cooking takes a while, so it’s much more fun if you have company.