A Persian Feast.

I’ve been blessed with some incredible friends in Melbourne. What’s more, most of them join me in my passion for good food. They have been more than willing to initiate me into the cuisines of their home countries, by cooking me their favourite dishes, or in this case, teaching me to make what I can only refer to as a banquet.

I met my friend Pouya through Angela, and he is such a welcoming, friendly man. Him and his partner Shohre are marvellously interesting people and are always a delight to be around. They come from Iran, and have so many stories to tell, and so many friends around the world. I count myself lucky to be counted among them.

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Pouya came over with a bag full of spices and wine, and shared some amazing Persian dishes with me. Below you will find a number of recipes that work together to make a complete meal.

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The main component of the meal is Loobia Polo, a type of fried and steamed cooked lamb, rice and green beans – similar to a biryani.

Dry fry the onions, then add the broken up lamb mince.

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Cook until dry, if meat isn’t terribly fatty add a dash of oil (but lamb is usually sufficiently fatty on its own). Add turmeric and cook over a low heat until cooked through. Make a well in the middle and add the tin of tomato paste, cook without stirring until the tomato paste has browned a little on the bottom.

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Then mix through the mince. Add green beans and about 1 cup of water, stir. Cover with a lid and cook meat for 1 hour until well cooked through and beans are very soft. Stir every 5-10 minutes and top up water if it dries out to prevent it burning.

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Cook 3 cups of rice until par cooked – the grains should be soft but still with a little crunch on the inside.

In a dutch oven, put in 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Heat and layer the potato slices on the bottom, and fry in the oil for 1 minute.

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On top, scoop on 1/3rd of the rice, then layer with 1/3rd of the meat and repeat until all used.

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Pull the rice away from the sides of the pot so that the meat and rice is sitting in a mound, not touching the sides at all.

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Wrap a tea towel tightly around the lid and place the lid on (this allows the rice to steam) and cook over a low heat for about half an hour, until the meat and rice have combined through and the rice is completely cooked.

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A fresh accompaniment to the meaty, rich loobia polo is Salad Shirazi, a basic fresh salad typically found in Shiraz.

Mix all of the listed ingredients together and serve as a side.

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For the yoghurt, chop the spinach, removing the stems, and steam until well wilted. Mix through the yoghurt with the dried mint.

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LOOBIA POLO AND SALAD SHIRAZI

Category,

My Iranian friend, Pouya, is a man of many talents. He makes things from leather, knows a lot about almost everything, and can cook very well too. He came over to share some recipes from his homeland.

From fourseasonsoffood.com/2013/09/16/a-persian-feast/

Yields1 Serving
Prep Time30 minsCook Time45 minsTotal Time1 hr 15 mins

 1 onions, chopped
 500 g lamb mince
 ¾ tsp turmeric
 170 g tomato paste
 500 g green beans, finely chopped
 3 cups basmati rice
 3 potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
 ½ tsp cinnamon
Salad Shirazi
 3 tomatoes, diced
 1 cucumber, diced
 ¼ white onion
 1 lime, juiced
 1 tsp dried mint
Spinach and Mint Yoghurt
 500 g pot set Greek yoghurt
 1 large bunch of English spinach
 2 tsp dried mint

1

Dry fry the onions, then add the broken up lamb mince.

2

Cook until dry, if meat isn't terribly fatty add a dash of oil (but lamb is usually sufficiently fatty on its own). Add turmeric and cook over a low heat until cooked through. Make a well in the middle and add the tin of tomato paste, cook without stirring until the tomato paste has browned a little on the bottom.

3

Then mix through the mince. Add green beans and about 1 cup of water, stir. Cover with a lid and cook meat for 1 hour until well cooked through and beans are very soft. Stir every 5-10 minutes and top up water if it dries out to prevent it burning.

4

Cook 3 cups of rice until par cooked - the grains should be soft but still with a little crunch on the inside.

5

In a cast iron pot, put in 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Heat and layer the potato slices on the bottom, and fry in the oil for 1 minute. On top, scoop on 1/3rd of the rice, then layer with 1/3rd of the meat and repeat until all used.

6

Pull the rice away from the sides of the pot so that the meat and rice is sitting in a mound, not touching the sides at all.

7

Wrap a tea towel tightly around the lid and place the lid on (this allows the rice to steam) and cook over a low heat for about half an hour, until the meat and rice have combined through and the rice is completely cooked.

Salad Shirazi
8

Mix all together and serve as a side.

Spinach and Mint Yoghurt
9

Chop the spinach, removing the stems, and steam until well wilted. Mix through the yoghurt with the dried mint.

Ingredients

 1 onions, chopped
 500 g lamb mince
 ¾ tsp turmeric
 170 g tomato paste
 500 g green beans, finely chopped
 3 cups basmati rice
 3 potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
 ½ tsp cinnamon
Salad Shirazi
 3 tomatoes, diced
 1 cucumber, diced
 ¼ white onion
 1 lime, juiced
 1 tsp dried mint
Spinach and Mint Yoghurt
 500 g pot set Greek yoghurt
 1 large bunch of English spinach
 2 tsp dried mint

Directions

1

Dry fry the onions, then add the broken up lamb mince.

2

Cook until dry, if meat isn't terribly fatty add a dash of oil (but lamb is usually sufficiently fatty on its own). Add turmeric and cook over a low heat until cooked through. Make a well in the middle and add the tin of tomato paste, cook without stirring until the tomato paste has browned a little on the bottom.

3

Then mix through the mince. Add green beans and about 1 cup of water, stir. Cover with a lid and cook meat for 1 hour until well cooked through and beans are very soft. Stir every 5-10 minutes and top up water if it dries out to prevent it burning.

4

Cook 3 cups of rice until par cooked - the grains should be soft but still with a little crunch on the inside.

5

In a cast iron pot, put in 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Heat and layer the potato slices on the bottom, and fry in the oil for 1 minute. On top, scoop on 1/3rd of the rice, then layer with 1/3rd of the meat and repeat until all used.

6

Pull the rice away from the sides of the pot so that the meat and rice is sitting in a mound, not touching the sides at all.

7

Wrap a tea towel tightly around the lid and place the lid on (this allows the rice to steam) and cook over a low heat for about half an hour, until the meat and rice have combined through and the rice is completely cooked.

Salad Shirazi
8

Mix all together and serve as a side.

Spinach and Mint Yoghurt
9

Chop the spinach, removing the stems, and steam until well wilted. Mix through the yoghurt with the dried mint.

Loobia Polo, Salad Shirazi and Mint Yoghurt


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