December 07, 2008

Loobia Polow - Rice with Green Beans

Persian Rice with Green Beans

لوبیا پلو Loobia polow is a delicious one-dish meal for the whole family. A tasty combination of rice, diced lamb/beef and cut green beans. I make loobia Polow quite often for my family.

Loobia Polow -
Rice with Green Beans

Serves 4-6

2 cups long-grain basmati rice
1 1/2 pounds  lamb or beef, cut into small pieces
1 lb fresh string beans, washed, cut into 1-inch lengths
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large ripe tomato, diced
1 (16-ounce) can tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Juice of a lime/lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Vegetable oil


  1. In a large bowl wash the rice thoroughly, rinse with cold water, and drain. Soak the rice in 8 cups of water, add 4 tablespoons of salt and set aside for a couple of hours.
  2. In a pan, saute chopped onions in 3 tablespoons of oil over medium heat for 5-7 minutes or until transparent. Add turmeric powder, and mix well. 
  3. Add the meat and cook until browned. Add tomatoes and the green beans to the pan and cook for another 5-7 minutes. Add tomato sauce, juice of a lime/lemon, cinnamon, salt and pepper to taste. Cook for another 15-20 minutes on low heat.
  4. Bring 3 quarts of water to a rapid boil in a large saucepan. Drain the rice and pour it into boiling water. Bring the water back to a boil, and cook for about 7 minutes on medium-high heat or until the grains are long, soft on the outside, and firm in the center. Test to see if the rice is ready. Drain the rice in a colander and rinse well with cool water. 
  5. Add 4 tablespoons of oil to the bottom of a non-stick pot. Add a layer of rice and the mixture of meat and bean sauce, building it up to a pyramid shape away from the sides of the pot. Make 4-5 holes in the rice with the bottom of the spatula. Cook for about 7- 10 minutes on medium-high heat until rice is steaming. You may cover the lid with a kitchen towel to prevent the moisture from building up in the pot. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 50 minutes to an hour. Don’t overcook this rice. You don’t want it to become too mushy.
Place rice on a serving platter, gently remove the crusty bottom (tahdig), and serve on a separate plate. Serve with salad, mast o khiar, or some torshi (pickles).



  1. I made this tonight...I cheated but I used your recipe. This is now the 4th recipe of yours I have tried from your blog and they have all turned out amazing. Some of rather bland as written, which is WONDERFUL so you can add more lemon or salt to your taste. As long as you know what they are supposed to taste like it is VERY easy to adjust the flavor. Thank you for giving me (an American girl) the skills to teach my son (half Persian) about the joys of Persian cuisine, and his heritage. My whole house smells like my late grandma Maman. It's amazing.

  2. I love your blog! Thanks so much for sharing with the world the wonders of Persian cuisine. I'm making loobia polow tonight, and I will try it your way with cinnamon; I've never tried that before! Do you have a printer friendly version link of your recipes? I'm looking and I don't see one. Merci, azizam!

    1. Thank you, Katya jaan! Not yet, I'm planning to make my blog printer-friendly soon.

  3. Thank you Azita, I have no idea why it took me so long to find your blog, Its absolutely precious! Can't wait to get back on my Persian cook-off! Take care and thanks again!

  4. Hi Azita,

    Speaking from my heart, I just wanted to thank you for creating this blog and sharing spectacular recipes and pictures. I always proudly introduce your website to my non-Iranian friends. Please keep up with your great work.



  5. Thank you Azita joon, I love your blog.

  6. I was shown how to make some persian dishes from my ex-husband's family but had no recipes except for a cookbook which was good but very time consuming. Your recipes seem less complicating than those and with the same ingredients. This is one of my favorites!

  7. I grew up on this and have just started making it again but forgot the recipe. We used to put small potatoes in. I usually put lean mince instead of beef. Lovely dish, love persian food!!

  8. Hi azita jan. Just love your blog. I have a question for you abt salt usage. How much salt would you put in this dish. I don't really like the taste of sale but I find that I don't put enough eventho it seems like a lot when I'm adding it. Everyobe always complains that my food is very bi namak. Thank you - Sayeh

    1. Hi Sayeh jan, this dish is made of rice and the meat mixture. When soaking the rice in water I use about 1 teaspoon of salt for one cup of rice. For the meat mixture I usually use about 1 teaspoon of salt for each pound of meat. You may want to use less salt if you are sensitive to its taste. Try to taste and adjust the seasoning as you cook. It's alright to be on the safe side and use less salt when cooking for others and let them add more salt if they prefer. Thank you.

  9. this is such a great recipe to make when you are cooking for americans. everyone loves this. i usually dont put in the cinnamon anymore, but i do add some saffron. i also sometimes put small diced cubes of fried potato in it also. i also "cheat" sometimes and use ground beef, chicken, or turkey. one of my favorites.

  10. Hello Azita! I love your page and use your recipes often! I had a question about this recipe -- if I am doubling the recipe since I am cooking for about 8-10 people, do I also double the 6 cups of water that I use for the rice in step 1 and step 5? Merci!

    1. Hi, in step 1, you'll need 8 cups of water and in step 5, you'll need 10 cups of water. Thank you!

  11. Hi Azita jaan,

    Thank you for your recipe. Loobia Polo was the specialty of my grandmothers. I have been playing / experimenting with recipes for many years now. As you know, the variations and subtleties in Persian dishes could make all the difference. Here are a few subtle points which I have picked up along the way that helped get my recipe closer to my grandmothers (never the same though :) )

    1) Use Adviyeh (which includes cinnamon, Caraway or Persian cumin, powdered ginger, rose peddle powder, etc) instead of strait cinnamon. Of course each family guards their Advieyeh recipe as the proportions and what they include makes the recipe special. Maybe you should have a page on just Adviyeh :)

    2) Under cook the rice by 30 percent in the first stage. Also, add the oil or better yet melted butter, water and Saffron mixture before layering the stew. This helps with not getting sticky rice at the end.

    3) Make sure you have enough oil at the bottom of the pot, as the Tah Dig is specially delicious with all the tomato juices and spices settling down the pot. But be very careful, as its easy to burn the tah Dig in loobia polo - use low temperature and increase as needed.


    P.S. A few points I noticed about your text above: bullet 2 is empty. Also in bullet 5 you say: "In a large saucepan, bring 6 of water to a rapid boil." - I think you meant "In a large saucepan, bring 6 cups of water to a rapid boil." sorry to nitpick, but I love your blog and thought to proof read it a little.

    1. Hooman jan, thank you for your suggestions and helpful tips.