Loobia Polo

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Loobia Polo

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500g / 1.1 lbs lamb leg or shoulder
1/2 piece beef bone with marrow optional
400g / 2 cups basmati rice
360g / 2 cups green beans
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
4 tbsp tomato paste
6 tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 cinnamon stick
1 to 2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp saffron
2 ice cubes to bloom the saffron alternatively you can use a few tbsp hot water
2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp Salt
  • Medium




Loobia Polo is a Persian rice dish with tender lamb and green beans.

For this dish you first prepare the sauce for the rice, then parboil the rice and finally combine the two and let the rice absorb the tasty sauce while they’re steaming together over low heat. It takes a bit of time, but not much effort at all. The preparation is simple and straight forward. All the magic happens while the food is cooking and you relax or spend time with your loved ones.


Prep: 30 min

Cook: 2 h 45 min

Total: 3 h 15 min

How to Prep the Ingredients:

  1. Transfer the ice cubes into a glass. Sprinkle the saffron over them and set it aside for later.
  2. Cut the lamb leg or shoulder into approx. 1 inch / 2.5cm large cubes.
  3. Finely chop the onions and garlic.
  4. Fry the lamb pieces in 3 tbsp hot vegetable oil until they are golden brown from each side.
  5. Remove the meat from the pan, leaving the oil in.
  6. Gently sauté the finely chopped onions in the same oil over low to medium temperature for about 5 minutes.
  7. Then add the chopped garlic and sauté them together for another 5 minutes.

How to Cook the Sauce:

  1. Add the tomato paste and briefly fry it together with the onions and garlic.
  2. Then add 2 cups of freshly boiled water to it. Season with the turmeric, black pepper and salt. Also add the cinnamon stick. 
  3. Additionally, I added a beef bone with marrow for extra flavour, but this is optional.
  4. Return the meat to the pan, put on the lid and let it simmer gently over low heat for about 2 h.
  5. Wash the green beans and chop them into 1 inch / 2.5cm long pieces.
  6. Sauté them in 1 tbsp vegetable oil over medium heat until they are nicely browned.
  7. Add the sautéed beans and the saffron water to the sauce once it has been simmering for 2 h. Let it simmer for another 20 minutes while you parboil the rice.

How to Parboil the Rice:

  1. Wash the rice by moving it around in a bowl of water, draining it, adding fresh water, and repeating this process 4 to 5 times.
  2. Bring water to boil in a large pan. Add 2 tbsp of salt.
  3. Once the water is boiling add the rice to it and briefly stir to make sure it does not stick together.
  4. After 3 to 7 minutes (depending on the rice you use) fish out a rice corn and either bite or cut through it. If the rice corn is soft on the outside and still firm in the centre, it means the rice is parboiled.
  5. Drain the rice in a colander and rinse it thoroughly with cold water. This will interrupt the cooking process as well as wash off any excess salt.

How to Layer the Rice and Sauce:

  1. Add 1 to 2 tbsp of vegetable oil to a coated pat with lid. Also add a little bit of the sauce. 
  2. Now add a layer of parboiled rice.
  3. Add some more sauce, including a few chunks of meat, then sprinkle with cinnamon powder. Continue with a layer of rice and so on, until all the ingredients are used up, finishing with a layer of sauce and cinnamon powder.
  4. Poke a few holes through the rice with the back of a wooden spoon.
  5. Heat the pan over medium temperature. Line the lid with a clean kitchen towel. As soon as steam rises from the rice, put the lid on.
  6. Reduce the temperature to low and let the Loobia Polo steam for 45 min.
  7. Your delicious Loobia Polo is now ready! Serve it with fresh salad, creamy yogurt and torshi (pickles). Be good and don’t fight over the tadig (the crispy rice from the bottom of the pan)! Enjoy!
Loobia Polo
Loobia Polo

Hami Sharafi

Hami Sharafi is a chef, food blogger, and Persian food ambassador. Hami runs a blog under the name I got it from my maman, where he shares some incredibly enticing Iranian recipes. Check out our interview with Hami to learn more about his blog and Persian cuisine.

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