FOR THE RICE:
2 tbsp ghee + enough ghee to also coat the bottom of your large pot
4 cups dry basmati rice
½ tsp ground saffron mixed into ¼ cup hot water
FOR THE KABOB:
1.5 lb ground beef
2 white onions 1 is pureed or finely grated, and 1 is cut into thick wedges
1 ½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
½ tsp turmeric powder optional
3 tbsp ghee
4 ripe roma tomatoes sliced in half lengthwise (any tomato variety you like is perfectly fine to use)
2 pinches of sumac to top each plate of food
butter (optional but highly, highly recommend) to fold into the rice on your individual plate
FOR THE RICE:
Boil water in a large pot and add plenty of salt (just as you would if you were cooking pasta) and 4 cups rinsed rice. Put stove on med-high heat. Don’t let it over-boil. When the rice is just hard in the middle and soft on the outside (al dente rice!), turn off the burner and drain the rice into a colander.
Add ghee to the large pot to cover the bottom of it and put on med heat. Add the rice to the pot, poke some holes with the back of a spatula almost to the bottom of the pot to release steam, and cover.
When steam rises to the lid of the pot (this is easy to tell with a clear lid, otherwise wait about 5 minutes) remove the lid and add dollops (approximately 2 tbsp) of ghee along with the saffron-water mixture to the top of the rice. Replace the lid with a large folded napkin or kitchen towel placed directly and tightly underneath it to catch the steam.
After about 5 minutes, put on med-low heat for ~30 min or until the pot sizzles when you splash a couple drops of water on the side of it—whichever happens last. You can either carefully flip the rice over onto a serving platter so that you can see the beautifully crisp tahdig (crispy rice at the bottom of the pot) or just serve yourself directly out of the pot, but make sure to dig for some tahdig at the bottom! It’s a treat!
FOR THE KABOB:
Combine beef, pureed onion, salt, pepper, and turmeric (optional).
In a large nonstick pan over med-high heat, add a couple tbsp ghee and swirl it around the pan.
Add the beef mixture and spread it out to form a flat ½ inch thick layer. Using your spatula, you can form the beef into long patties like I did in the pictures. Cook for about 2-3 minutes per side or until browned and cooked through. **ALTERNATIVELY, you can cook the flattened out beef mixture on med-low heat with the lid on and after about 3 minutes (when it’s cooked completely through), remove the lid and use your spatula to cut the beef into long patties and flip over to sear the other side without the lid. You can increase the heat a bit to get a better sear. This method keeps the oil from splattering much.**
Once the beef is almost done, add a bit more ghee if needed, turn up to med-high heat, and place tomatoes (cut side down) onto the pan to sear for a couple minutes per side.
Remove kabobs and tomatoes from heat and serve with the basmati rice.
Persians always have sumac with this dish. You just throw in a pinch right on top of the food. For extra love, add a pad of butter to the rice on your plate and fold it in. Also, if you like this idea, put a wedge of onion on your plate and bite a piece of it with your food. It helps with digestion and it gives a nice crunch and a bit of heat. It’s Persian food so you might as well do it the Persian way, right? Shallot yogurt is also commonly an accompaniment for this dish and that is photographed alongside the dish above. Stay tuned for that super simple recipe next! Noushe-jaan (nourishment for your soul)!