My Little Persian Kitchen & Lubia Polo (green bean and tomato rice)

Lubia polo is my best friends favourite Iranian dish & I always cook it for her when she comes to stay with us as a treat.

Her birthday is on the 2nd Jan & she always gets a bit moody (er than normal) at this time of year (I think it’s down to the fact that no one has any money post-Christmas and everyone is partied out, thus a birthday is a bit inconvenient)

A few years ago her partner tried to surprise her with a trip to Chester Zoo and the surprise was that we would meet her there.

Well.

He made a terrible mistake bringing me in on the plan as I got way too over excited by it all and nearly let the cat out of the proverbial bag!

My hubbie and I prepared a picnic, got party hats, I made some chocolate cupcakes & some Lubia polo to take along for her. We set it all up in the Jaguar picnic hut & had a lovely little party there.

Lubia Polo is the perfect ‘one pot’ meal for a family feast or for dinner parties. It’s appearance is very dramatic with its dark tadig and its great because you can make ahead and then just throw it all in a rice cooker on the day and cook which means more time entertaining! And not forgetting the most important thing, it taste’s amazing!

You can make Lubia Polo with diced meat or minced, I prefer minced with mine. You can add potatoes to the tadig or without and you can add some heat by adding a bit of cayenne pepper. It is also lovely as a vegetarian dish, just omit the meat and add finely cubed aubergines for texture.

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Lubia Polo – Rice with green beans and tomato

Ingredients

Coconut oil or Olive oil

2 medium white onions sliced

500 gm of mince steak or diced lamb or beef

1 heaped tsp turmeric

2 garlic cloves finely chopped

2 tbsp tomato puree

1 carton of tomato passata

2 cups of green beans – fried

1/2 tsp saffron ground with 1 tsp sugar and dissolved in 2 tbsp water

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Salt and pepper to taste

4 cups of basmati rice

2 tbsp vegetable oil or olive oil

1 cup of water

Method

Add some oil to a pan and add the sliced onions and fry off for 5 minutes

Add the turmeric & garlic and fry off for a few minutes

Add the meat and cook until browned

Add in the tomato puree and stir for a few seconds before adding in passata and 1 cup of water

Season well with salt and pepper and simmer for 40 minutes

Whilst that is simmering, slice the green beans into 1 inch pieces and fry off until cooked through. Add these to the simmering pan and leave to cook for 60 minutes.

Add the cinnamon and saffron liquid.

When this is cooked through leave to one side

Wash the rice until the water runs clear and add to a rice cooker

Add water up to 1cm above the rice and add the oil and season well with salt. When the rice is starting to cook and the water has all been absorbed, remove it for the pan and re wash it. This stage is really important as it will keep the rice singular and not stodgy and sticky.

Slice some potatoes and place in the bottom of the pan with a drizzle of olive oil. Meanwhile mix the rice with the sauce you made earlier and carefully scoop it all back into the pan. Put the lid back on and cook for around 60 minutes depending on how dark you like your tadig (crispy rice at the bottom) The tadig should look a dark brown to black due to the sauce in the rice so don’t be alarmed when you turn it out, it isn’t burnt! This is exactly how it should look and taste’s the best the darker it is as anyone who has had it will tell you.

Turn out and serve with mast o khiar and salad ! Nooshe jaan.

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