One of my vivid (and fun!) memories of Persian cuisine is trying to guess what my mom cooked, based on the dwelling smell of food when I’d come home from school. Although this was a fun little game I played with my mom, this helped me to develop a strong sense of how individual ingredients smell. I’d like to think that this helped me develop my pallet even. Persian cuisine is generally a blend a fabulous products, a twister of specific odors. However, when the right amounts of these products are mixed, they turn into a majestic dish that stands out by itself, like today’s wonderful recipe that brings together green beans, basmati rice, ground beef and so many spices: Lubia Polo.
When I speak to Persian friends of my generation about this dish I love that almost everyone unanimously calls it one of their favorite childhood dishes. Personally, I always preferred ground beef over chunks of stewed meat (when I was a kid, I love everything now) and I’d start crying when my guess turned out to be wrong and my mom happily presented Kale Pache (a day long boiled sheep’s head…ok, I guess I don’t love everything yet 🙂 ). Because of my preference for ground beef, my mom always replaced the stewing beef of Lubia Polo for me. To re-create this recipe into a Dishtales Persian cuisine recipe, I went back to my mom’s kitchen to discuss the cooking process. Let’s just say that our re-creation ended up becoming the Lubia Polo recipe that my mom used to make me when I was a kid. To be honest, I think it’s simply fabulous that way and I’m sure you’ll fall in love with this dish as well. Enjoy cooking it and make sure to check out the process pictures that I took in my mom’s kitchen, when she cooked this dish for me! 🙂
- Serving 4
- 500 gr minced beef
- 500 gr green beans (washed and cut in half)
- 2 cups basmati rice
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 large onion
- 1 tbsp advieh (see Chapter 5 recipe for this spice mix!)
- 1 tbsp turmeric
- a pinch of saffron dissolved in ½ cup boiled water
- 1 large potato (sliced into 5 mm slices)
- salt & pepper
- Fill a large pan with water and 1 tbsp salt; bring to a boil. Cook your basmati rice for about 5 minutes over medium/high heat. Your rice should be cooked 'al dente' at this point. Drain it and put it aside.
- Slice the onion and fry in a separate pot (until golden). Add the beef and cook for 5 minutes. Then add spices, tomato paste and a tbsp of the saffron (liquid) mixture. Cook over medium heat for another 5 minutes
- Add 2 cups of water and green beans. Cover the pot and cook for 30 minutes over medium heat and stir occasionally.
- Pour some vegetable (I use sunflower) oil into a large, non-stick pot (covering the bottom) and 2 tbsp of the saffron mixture. Cover the bottom of the pot with potato slices.
- It's time to layer! Pour some rice into the pot, sprinkle a tbsp saffron mixture over the rice and then pour in a layer of the beef/green bean mixture. Continue layering until the pot is filled (or beef mixture is finished). When finished layering you may give it a quick stir and poke some holes into the dish with a fork or with the back of your cooking spoon.
- Now wrap a kitchen towel (see process pictures below) over the lid, cover the pot and steam your Lubia Polo for 20/25 minutes over low/medium heat.
- Now here's the big moment! Take the pot off your stove and cool down the bottom of the pot with cold (running) water. Gently flip over the pot onto a flat dish or scoop out the Lubia Polo onto a large dish. If you go for the second option you can gently take out the Tahdig - the crispy layer on the bottom of the pot (potatoes and saffron rice)
- Nooshe Jan!
Oh and FYI:
I served this dish with a beautiful, fall colored side dish of yogurt, beetroot and dried mint. However, you can serve this dish with any kind of fresh garden salad or yogurt side dish (quite Persian to do so).
Please note that the ADVIEH spice mix used in this recipe was featured in an earlier post on dishtales.com and you can find it by simply clicking here!