You read that right, this hearty dinner incorporates apples and banana – and it’s amazing. It’s a meal I grew up on, the recipe for which has been passed on to my mom from my grandmother. She was always cooking and reading cookbooks and magazines for inspiration, and I’m pretty certain she got this recipe out of one of the ladies’ magazines she subscribed to sometime in the seventies.
I grew up in a meat-potatoes-and-vegetables kind of household, where dinner would constitute of these three things in this order of importance, and Persian rice was very much the exotic bird in our garden. It still baffles me that this dish made it to be a staple in our household… where only one recipe for spaghetti existed, Tuesday was French fries-day and on Saturdays we ate bread.
It may sound like I had a pretty spartan upbringing, but you need not shed any tears over me. My childhood was like those of the Sound of Music kids, once Maria entered their lives. Only without the having to wear old curtains for clothes. And my dad was actually very hands on, and there was no imminent war either. And I live in the Netherlands, so there were no hills to be alive with music. My mom sang a lot though, and it were the nineties, the happiest and most upbeat decade the world has seen in a long time.
In any case, try your hand on Persian rice. It’s probably unlike anything you’ve eaten before, and that’s a very, very good thing. I promise. First time I made this for my boyfriend he didn’t know what to make of it. To be fair, he was a very picky eater when we met – he’d eat chicken and creamed spinach, and maybe some spareribs every once in a while. That kind of picky (and then he met me, and I made him try everything I cooked. And he did. Don’t ever let them tell you you can’t change people 😉 ). A few weeks later he asked me if I could make that weird dish with the bananas again, and he had second and third helpings. Now he’s a true devotee.
And now it’s your turn. Enjoy!
Hearty Persian Rice with Apples and Banana
200 g minced beef (or use a beef-pork mixture)
2 good sized tomatoes
2 ts curry powder
Slice the onions in rings and heat a nob of butter in a pan. Add the onion rings and cook for a few minutes until soft.
Add the minced beef, and make sure to break it up with your spoon. Add a little salt to taste. This is also where I usually add a dash of my favorite spice mixture for meat, but feel free to leave it out or add some of your own personal favorites. This is just to season the meat a bit though, make sure it doesn’t take over the flavor of the entire dish.
Dice the tomatoes and add them to the pan together with the curry powder. Peel and dice the apples and mix through. Add a bit of water (about a small cup, I usually spoon some in from the pan in which the rice is cooking) and let the apples soften. Add more water if needed. You can crumble half a stock cube over the pan if you like at this point. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t, depending on my mood. Just taste the dish and see what feels right.
When the apples have softened and most of the water is gone (it shouldn’t be too dry though, in that case add more water), slice the bananas and mix through. Make sure you’re ready to serve once you do this, because they turn to pulp quite soon and you don’t want that to happen.
Serve over white rice and be prepared for a full on flavor fiesta!
Let me know what you think of this recipe, did you like it or tweak it to make it even better? Don’t hold out, I’d love to hear!
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