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A Persian dish of rice with green beans. From New Food of Life cookbook, one of my favorite cookbooks. I always significantly reduce the amount of oil called for, but I copied the recipe as it appears in the book.
- 3 cups basmati rice, long-grain
- 1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 2 lbs stewing beef or 2 lbs boneless chicken, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lb canned stewed tomatoes, sliced, peeled and drained
- 1 1⁄2 lbs fresh green beans, cleaned and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried lime powder (limu-amani, can get at Persian specialty shops)
- 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon saffron, dissolved in
- 2 tablespoons hot water
- Clean and wash 3 cups of rice 5 times in warm water.
- In a saucepan, brown the onion, garlic, and meat in 3 tbs oil (I might use 1 tbs or less). Add tomatoes, green beans, cinnamon, 1 tsp salt 1/4 tsp pepper, half of the lime powder. If using canned tomatoes, make sure they are completely drained. They must not have any sauce left (I don't always drain it, in which case I'll reduce the cooking time of the rice until it feels "al dente"). Cover and simmer over low heat for 40 minutes.
- Bring 8 cups of water and 2 tbs salt to a boil in a large non-stick pot. Pour the washed and drained rice into the pot. Boil briskly for 6 to 10 minutes over high heat, gently stirring twice to loosen any grains that may have stuck to the bottom. Bite a few grains. If the rice feels soft it is ready to be drained. Drain rice in a large, fin-mesh colander and rinse in 2 or 3 cups lukewarm water.
- In the same pot, heat 3 tbs oil (I use about 1 tbs or less).
- In a bowl, combine yogurt, 2 spatulas of rice, and a drop of saffron water. Spread over the bottom of the pot to create a golden crust (tah-dig).
- Place 2 spatulas full of rice in the pot, then add a layer of the green-bean-and-meat mixture. Repeat, alternating layers in the shape of a pyramid. Sprinkle the remaining dried lime powder over the pyramid. Cover and cook for 10 minutes over medium heat.
- Pour the remaining oil(I use a teaspoon or so), saffron water and 1/2 cup of the meat juices over the rice. Place a clean dish towel or 2 layers of paper towels oved the pot and cover firmly with the lid to prevent steam from escaping. Cook 50 minutes longer over low heat. remove the pot from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes on a damp surface without uncovering it, to free the crust from the bottom of the pot.
- Open the pot, take out 2 tablespoons of the saffron-flavored rice and set aside for garnishing.
- Gently taking 1 spatula full of rice at a time, place it on a serving platter without disturbing the crust. Mound the rice in the shape of a cone. Decorate with saffron-flavored rice.
- Detach the crust from the bottom of the pot using a wooden spatula. Unmold onto a small platter and serve on the side.