I can’t think of a “healthier” or “any easier” loobia polo. If you can, please comments below.
This dish needs, per person:
1 cup white basmati rice (I buy Royal from Costco), rinsed well several times. The more rinsed, the fluffier cooked rice will be). Better soak dry rice in salted water, for at least a couple hours, before cooking.
Green beans (loobia sabs/green), clean cut into couple centimeters, 1/2 cup per person
Stew Beef, lean, cut into couple cm again 1/2 cup per person
1 onion per each serving, cut in about 1 cm cubes (those with OCD give the cutting to others!)
1 large can tomato sauce or 1 small tomato paste per 4 servings/4 cups of dry rice
Spices: Cinnamon, adviyeh polo (all spice for polo, if someone asks you what you like from Iran, I have not seen it sold by Iranian delis), turmeric, saffron, ground rose petals or rose water or both (optional but recommended for the traditional fragrance), salt & pepper of course.
1) Saute’ on med low heat your loobia, meat and onion, in oiled pan (about 1/2 cup oil per 4 servings), stirring frequently. Add couple spoonfuls of turmeric.
Once you notice onions are golden and, meat and loobia are almost cooked, lower heat. On low heat add tomato sauce (if too acidic, I’d add 1 tblsp sugar per 1 can)and spices (to taste, start off with couple sprinkles of cinnamon, a pinch of saffron and see what you smell is enough to get you high :o) if not, increase dosage), same with dried rose petals or rose water (golaab). Let this sauce simmer for an hour or two on low heat, until meat and loobia are fully cooked/soft, and sauce has reduced to the thickness of a thick pasta sauce (I don’t know how else to describe the consistency).
2) You should’ve started boiling water (1:1) for your rice before you hopped to sauteeing. If you haven’t done so then this is good time to let your loobia-meat-onion mixture simmer on very low heat, while you cook your rice to hard-in-the-middle (about 10 mins?). Drain the water and transfer to a nonstick oiled pot (I leave it to you: if you like tahdeeg naan lavaash, it takes about 1 cup oil in a medium size pot; but if you like rice tahdeeg then you need 1-1/2 cups (if you have no cholestrol issues)
3) With a spatula for rice and a big spoon for the meat-loobia sauce, start with rice in the bottom (mix the first layer wekk so your crispy rise tastes good), then sauce (mix the first layer well so your crispy rise/tahdeeg tastes good), and top off with butter (if you like). Some people like to add spices again at each layer (I do for special times) before putting the clothed lid on their pot. Think a perfect mountain of rice layered with sauce, then at the peak of your mountain which should be white rice, dig a hole with the end of a wooden spoon so you get a perfect steam system going, allowing the rice to cook evenly in the pot. It should take about 45 minutes to an hour for a good tahdeeg on medium-low heat. Generously spit on your index finger and hit the side of the pot, if it says Jeezz, your tahdeeg should be ready.
When you serve the rice, make sure you gently mix the white and the sauce-coated rice before spreading it on your loved one’s plate (or the family platter).
P.S. Depending on your location altitude, your stove top functionality, etc., if you ever smell burnt rice, remove your pot immediately! Ask me below how to deal with burnt-God-forbid-rice.