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October 14, 2005

Loobia Polow

Rice with Green Beans

I wanted to try something different from I normally use saffron in. Well, by normally, I mean quite infrequently since it’s not oftern enough I make paella. So I poked around on the internet with two thoughts in mind: 1) use the saffron I received from Christina in a recipe and 2) not have to leave the house to buy more ingredients. The later was indeed a real challenge since the cupboards and fridge were pretty sparse due to the upcoming trip to California.

I came across this website. It focuses on the cuisine of Iran. I altered the recipe in only one, yet conceivable important way: I used pork (I know I know !) instead of ground beef. So not only have a made the dish inedible to Irani Muslims, the dish was missing a key juiciness that had I used ground beef would have solved.

Other than it’s nice color, which could have actually been from the tomato paste, the saffron was not noticeable.

Back to the cutting board. anyone with better suggestions for using saffron, I am all ears.

- 500 g (1 lb) Basmati long grain rice
- 500 g (1 lb) meat, ground or small pieces
- 500 g (1 lb) string beans
- 1 medium onion
- 2 tbs tomato paste
- 1/3 cup oil
- 1/2 tsp ground saffron
- 2 tbs lime juice
- salt and pepper
1. After washing the rice thoroughly, soak the rice in salted lukewarm water to cover by 2 inches for 3 to 4 hours.
2. String the beans, wash and chop into 1 inch lengths.
3. Slice the onion and fry in a little oil until it turns golden brown. Add the meat and continue to cook until the meat is half done. Add the beans and continue to cook over low heat until all cooked. Add tomato paste, 2 tbs lime juice and 1/4 tsp saffron, salt and pepper and remove from heat after a couple more minutes. Make sure you don't overcook the mixture.
4. In a large saucepan, bring 8 to 12 cups of water to a rapid boil.
5. Pour off excess water from rice and pour into boiling water. Bring back to boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Test to see if the rice is ready. The grains should be firm in the center and rather soft on the outside. Strain and rinse with lukewarm water. Toss gently in the colander.
6. Bring 1/4 cup water and 2 to 3 tbs oil to rapid boil. Add layers of rice and the mixture of beans and meat interchangeably building it up to a conical shape.
7. Poke 5 or 6 holes through the rice to the bottom with the handle of a spoon. Close the lid. Keep on medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes until rice is steaming.
8. Heat up 1/4 cup of water and 2 tbs oil and pour over the rice. Wrap the saucepan lid in a clean tablecloth and cover the pan firmly. Reduce heat to low for 45 minutes to an hour.
9. After removing from heat, place the saucepan in the sink and run cold water under it to cool down.
10. Add 1/4 tsp saffron to 1 tbs hot water. Lightly mix 2 to 3 tbs of rice with the liquid saffron in a small bowl. Set it aside for garnish.
11. To dish up, gently toss the rice and sprinkle lightly in a dish in a symmetrical mound. Garnish with the saffron rice.
12. Remove the crusty bottom and serve in a separate plate.

Posted by talia at October 14, 2005 1:16 PM