This dish was my childhood favorite; we called it red rice (because of the tomatoes in the rice). It was also my children’s favorite when they were growing up. Whenever I asked them what they wanted, they would say lubia polow. I have included this recipe in memory of my childhood and theirs.
makes: 6 servings
preparation time: 20 minutes
cooking time: 45 minutes
Long-grain white basmati
Rice 2 cups (for this recipe I like to use Ahoo Bareh basmati rice)
Olive oil – 1/2 cup
Onion 1 large, peeled and thinly diced
Garlic 2 cloves, peeled and crushed
Chicken (skinless, boneless thighs) 1 pound, cut with the grain into 1-inch strips
Coarse salt 1 tablespoon
Black pepper 1 teaspoon, freshly ground
Advieh (Persian spice mix) 1 teaspoon
Fresh lime juice 2 tablespoons
Ground saffron threads- 1/2 teaspoon
Red chili pepper – 1/2 teaspoon (optional)
French green beans, fresh or frozen 1 pound, cleaned and cut into 2-inch pieces
Tomatoes, fresh 4 large, sliced; or canned tomatoes 1 pound, drained
Medium-sized rice cooker
Long silicone spatula
Note: If you don’t use basmati rice, washing the rice once is sufficient.
1. Before you start: Gather all the ingredients and tools. Ask for adult help, especially for cutting and chopping vegetables, and using the rice cooker.
2. Washing the rice: Pick over to remove any grit or bad grains. Wash the rice thoroughly by placing it in a large, shallow container filled with warm water. Gently pour off the water. Repeat five times until the water is quite clear. Drain in a fine mesh colander and set aside.
3. Cooking the rice: Turn on the medium-sized rice cooker. Add 1/2 cup of oil to the rice cooker pot. Add the onion, garlic, meat, salt, pepper, advieh, lime juice, saffron, and red chili pepper. Stir-fry for 7 minutes using a long silicone spatula.
4. Add the green beans and stir-fry for 1 minute.
5. Add the tomatoes, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.
6. Add the rice and stir gently for 2 minutes to combine all the ingredients evenly.
7. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the cover and stir gently. Cover again and continue to cook for another 10 minutes.
8. Unplug the rice cooker and allow to cool, still covered, for 5 minutes.
9. Serving the rice: Use oven mitts to remove the lid and transfer the rice to a serving platter.
Reprinted with permission from Happy Nowruz: Cooking with Children to Celebrate the Persian New Year, by Najmieh Batmanglij, courtesy of Mage Publishers, www.mage.com.