Zahra Abdalla’s mouthwatering Persian loobia polo – a mound of aromatic rice, tender meat and a layer of crispy potato discs (tahdig)
Cooking InstructionsDownload PDF
Wash and rinse the rice with cold water until the water runs clear. Soak the rice in 1.5 litres of cold water, add the salt and set aside for 2 hours.
Peel and chop the onions. Chop the green beans into 2.5cm pieces.
Mince the garlic.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a medium-sized saucepan. Sauté the onion in the oil over a medium-high heat until translucent. Add the beef mince (or lamb cubes), garlic, turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper and salt to taste. Sauté for at least 3-5 minutes until the meat has browned.
Add the green beans, tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, rose water, sugar and saffron along with 120ml of water; mix well, cover and leave to simmer over a low heat for approx. 20-30 minutes.
In a large pot, add approx. 1.5 litres of water and 3 tbsp oil, and bring to a boil. Drain the rice and add to the boiling water and cook for approx. 7-10 minutes until the rice is parboiled or al dente. The grain needs to be soft from the outside and firm in the centre. Drain and rinse the rice in cold water.
Slice the potatoes. Wipe the large pot clean, add 3 tablespoons of oil, arrange the sliced potatoes in a circular layout at the base and fry on a high heat without stirring for 3-5 minutes. Place the rice and meat mixture in alternating layers, building it up into a dome shape and poke 4-5 holes in the rice with the bottom of a wooden spoon.
In a small cup, melt and mix 3 tablespoons of butter with 125ml of boiling hot water and a pinch of saffron, and pour over the rice. Cover the pot and cook on a high heat until it begins to steam.Wrap the pot's lid with a kitchen towel and cook the rice for an additional 30 minutes on a low heat.
Spoon the rice onto a platter, with the crispy potato crust (tahdig) on the side.