Persian green beans and meat pilaf
November 14, 2019 • Category: Main Dish, Whole Grain/Bulgur/Rice, Meats
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Loobia polowJoumana Accad Mediterranean, Middle Eastern November 14, 2019 Main Dish, Whole Grain/Bulgur/Rice, Meats, Iranian, lamb, beef, other red meat, other red meat, persian, pilaf, Basmati, beef, saffron, tagged,
Prep Time: 90 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Passive Time: 1 hour
2 cups Basmati (or 3)
3/4 cup clarified butter
2 large yellow onions, chopped
1 tsp garlic paste (mashed in a mortar with a dash of salt)
1 1/2 lb stew meat cut into no bigger than 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/2 lb tomatoes, chopped (or the equivalent in canned tomatoes)
1 1/2 lb green beans , ends cut-up and beans cut-up into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp rice advieh (see note)
1 dried lime (or juice of a lime)
3/4 cup plain yogurt mixed with one egg
1/2 tsp saffron, ground in a mortar and dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water
Note: Advieh is a mix of spices and in the case of rice dishes it is composed of
2 T ground dried rose petals, 2 T ground cinnamon, 2 T ground cardamom, 1 T ground cumin
- Place rice in a colander set over a bowl and rinse under tap water; dump rice into bowl, add 1 T salt (can be coarse salt) and water to cover by 2 inches; let it rest for a couple of hours.
- Prepare the stew: Heat some clarified butter or oil over medium heat in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Fry the onions for 10 minutes then add the garlic and the green beans. Stirfry for 20 minutes and remove to a bowl. Brown the meat then add two cups of water and let it simmer for about 45 minutes. Place the green bean and onion mixture back; add the tomatoes, then add the spices. Lower the heat as much as possible, or place a heat diffuser under the pan. Let the stew simmer gently for 40 minutes.
- Pour 2 quarts of water and the salt into a nonstick pot over medium heat; add the drained rice, and bring to a boil; watch carefully, as the rice should not cook till soft, but only till it loses it raw state and gets barely al dente, about 2 or 3 minutes; test by lifting one or two grains and biting; it should not be soft, it should still be hard. Drain the rice into the colander and rinse quickly.
- Heat 1/2 cup butter in the same pot over medium heat for a couple minutes while mixing two cups of rice with the yogurt mixture and saffron water. Tap the rice mixture at the bottom of the pot carefully in order to form the crust or tah dig.
- Place 1/3 of the green bean stew (using a perforated spatula to leave out the juices) over the rice, and repeat this operation till the rice and stew is used-up, tapping the pilaf from all sides to shape it like a pyramid. Cover the pot and cook it for about 10 minutes until the steam escapes from the pot and it looks like the pilaf is holding together.
- Lower the heat, and using the handle of a wooden spoon poke three holes in the pilaf all the way to the bottom. Pour the remaining saffron water, stew juices (no more than 2 cups total), and butter over the rice in a circular motion. Cover the lid with a dish towel, close the lid and let the pilaf steam gently for about 45 minutes to an hour.
- To serve the rice, turn off the heat and let it rest for a few minutes; loosen the edges of the pilaf with a spatula all around; uncover the pot and hold the serving platter over it. Flip it over the platter and carefully remove the pot. It should have formed a nice cake-like shape. Serve immediately with a yogurt salad or green onions, fresh herbs like basil and pickled veggies.
In the event the rice pilaf does not unmold easily, empty the pot one ladle at a time onto the serving platter and shape into a pyramid as much as possible. Unmold the crust gently with a spatula and set it next to the platter in a dish. While cooking the stew first, let the juices evaporate as you do not want to add too much juice to the rice, or it will overcook when steaming; leave about 2 cups of juice in the stew at the end.
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4 Comments • Comments Feed
Joumana – commenting here is easier than sending you a direct email, but it is not intended to be approved and put up on the site, as I just want to make a couple of comments that would appear critical when they are intended to engage in dialog.
This is a beautiful dish if it is made well, but it really will not come out like that unless the cook is already able to turn out a totally repeatable tadig without any help, and that is a very high bar for entry.
I found it interesting that you direct the use of yogurt to hold the tadig together and create the brown bottom. My experience is that this is not required if the rice is steamed until it is fully hydrated then baked/fried in the residual fat until it browns as a result of Maillard reactions which require temperatures of at least 325°F (so there can be no moisture left in the bottom of the pan and that is why you have to put a cloth over the pan before you put on the lid – which you don’t explain and thus a novice will miss).
I don’t understand the direction to: Tap the rice mixture at the bottom of the pot carefully in order to form the crust or tah dig. Are you suggesting tapping the ouside of the pan or the inside? And how does tapping the rice mixture help form the crust? There must be something missing here.
The layering of the rice and the stew is clear in the intent, but not very clear in the instructions. You say –
“Place 1/3 of the green bean stew (using a perforated spatula to leave out the juices) over the rice”
but you forgot to say that you start by putting only 1/3 of the rice in the bottom of the pan, otherwise there is nothing to “repeat” and form the layers.
After the rice has steamed, you generally have to turn up the heat to get the rice/fat up to the Maillard reaction temperature (325-370°F) long enough to brown but not long enough to scorch it. This is of course the secret to making successful tadig and it depends critically on your pan, your stove, how much is in the pan, what else is in the pan, and all of the water has to be out of circulation (either in the rice or trapped in the cloth).
Your photos are beautiful, but I suspect that very few people will come anywhere near that level of execution the first time out (unless they already can do tadig with their eyes closed).
So my suggestions are to:
1. fix the detail about layering the rice and the stew,
2. fix whatever was intended where you instructed to tap the rice to make it brown, and
3. change the rice prep to free-boiling in excess water for 5 minutes and then draining without rinsing (this of course requires that the rice be soaked until it is saturated before starting which takes at least 30 min for polished basmati, and a few hours for brown basmati).
4. explain what makes the crust on the tadig, tell everybody that it is tricky/hard to do, and suggest that the novice make plain tadig before trying to build this stew on top of it.
I look forward to every new recipe you put up. And I continue to admire your photography.
No response required, but if you have time you can send me an email at the address above.
On November 15, 2019 at 4:07 am
I was given an electrical pot to cook Persian rice but have not been very successful in using it. Could I use it for this recipe and how should I proceed? Thank you for your help. I love Persian food!
On January 28, 2020 at 7:47 am
Joumana Accad says:
Honestly, I have never used these pots, just a regular nonstick pot; what I found useful was to pour enough melted butter, a bit of water with saffron, and to use pieces of pita or sliced potatoes to coat the bottom of the pot before adding the rice mixture. Otherwise, if you are only using the rice mixture, make sure you mix 2 or 3 ladles of it with a couple egg yolks and a ladle of thick yogurt to form a type of rice custard at the bottom. Otherwise, it will be somewhat frustrating to get the golden tahdig of one’s dreams.
On January 29, 2020 at 6:41 am
On February 6, 2020 at 5:19 am