Havij Polow (Carrot Rice Pilaf)
Just like Loobia Polow, today’s carrot dish was one of the meals that Maman cooked at least once a week in Isfahan. One day the stew was slightly sour, the next, sweet, and you could probably guess which was my favorite. Back then, I had more of a sweet tooth, and although, I was just about to take the blame for all the sweets that magically disappeared in the house, I am pretty sure my dad helped out too. Baba (dad is Farsi) would come home around 4 p.m. from the university, carrying a box of shirini (sweet pastry), and we’d have tea time as a family.
Here is the picture of Isfahan University of Technology, where my dad taught. We lived in a small neighborhood right next to the mountain that you see.
Back to the food you are about to prepare, it is meant to be served as a rice pilaf, but since it contains meat, you may serve it as stew over rice. The hint of sweetness mixed with turmeric and cinnamon is what makes simple dish so delicious.
Ingredients (serves 4):
- 1.5- 2 cups white Basmati rice
- 2.5 lb ground meat (beef, lamb, etc.)
- 2 med. onions, thinly sliced
- 4 lrg (~ 4 cups) carrots, julienned (not grated)
- 3-4 Tbs sugar
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- salt and ground pepper to taste
Time~ 1 hr
- Cook rice. See here for cooking rice Persian style.
- In a large pan, saute the carrots in enough oil/butter ’till just tender (~ 2-3 min). Add the sugar and cook uncovered ’till excess liquid evaporates. Set aside.
- In another pan, saute the onions in enough oil/butter ’till slightly browned (~10-15 min). Stir in the turmeric and ground pepper ’till fragrant (~1 min). Use more oil or sprinkle water to keep spices from burning.
- Make room in the center of the pan, add the ground beef and cook while breaking up the clumps with your spatula (~10 min).
- Stir in cinnamon and mix beef with the onions. Add in the carrots and cook on low heat for a couple of minutes for the flavors to blend.
- Serve over rice.
It is served with sabzi (fresh herb mix), and even yogurt for a sweet and sour flavor.
If yogurt is too much, try sour cream.