Green bean rice with lamb is well balanced dish that gives you your veg, protein and carbs in one meal.
Arabs have a tendency to overcook vegetables and I usually like to keep them slightly crunchy most of the time...
However, this is one of those dishes where you want the green beans on the softer side so they incorporate nicely into the rice.
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I use fillet of lamb which I cut into very small pieces no larger than the tip of your pinkie finger.
Lebanese cooking is generally frugal when it comes to meat and many home cooks would distribute a piece of meat throughout the dish rather than serving slabs of it on its own.
Not only is it an economical way to spread protein, it also offers a delicious change in texture which keeps it interesting.
You can also use beef if you have that in your fridge.
The Black Lime
The black lime is an addition my mother made to this dish, something she picked up from my Iraqi side of the family.
Black lime is usually preserved as a whole fruit and is often found in Iraqi and Iranian cuisine where fresh lemons are limited.
The preserved lime adds a vibrant sourness and is very intense on it's own so use it as a seasoning.
For this recipe you will need to crush them slightly so you can pick out the blackened lime inside, being careful to remove any of the pips.
You could add flecks of black lime throughout the dish but my mum prefers to blitz them in a spice blender so you almost get a coarse black lime powder.
If you don't have black lime you can also use a drizzle of pomegranate molasses, about a tablespoon will do.
Of course you can make this dish forgoing the lime but I would recommend seeking it out in your nearest Middle Eastern store as it makes the world of difference.
The rice will have a tomato tang from the tomato concentrate and I used 1-2 tablespoons, don't be shy with it.
You can also add a cup of fresh tomato sauce that has been blitzed which will give it another dimension of tomato flavour.
I always soak my rice for around half an hour beforehand meaning it will cook quicker with the grean beans and lamb.
I used basmati as it separates better than short grain varieties.
I added boiling water (from a kettle) so it covered the rice, which came to about 3.5 cups of water for 2 cups of rice. This is more than usual as it also includes the meat and green beans.
You can serve the final thing on it's own or with a dollop of plain yoghurt to complement the savoury sourness.
Green Bean And Lamb Rice
Rice with green beans, lamb and black lime
- 3-4 tablespoon regular olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 250 g of lamb fillet chopped into small pieces
- 1 teaspoon 7 spice
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- 400 g of green beans fresh or frozen
- 1.5 tablespoon tomato concentrate
- 2 cups of basmati rice
- 1 tablespoon black lime powder
- Approx 1 teaspoon salt
Soak the rice in water in a bowl. Set aside
In a casserole dish, add the regular olive oil and sauté the onions until golden
Add the lamb pieces on top and fry on medium high heat until you seal the meat
Add the 7 spice, turmeric, black pepper along with the green beans and sauté for around 5 minutes on medium high heat
Then add the salt, black lime powder and tomato concentrate, and sauté again for another five minutes
Wash and drain the rice, then add to the pan and sauté for 2 minutes before adding boiling water to cover (approx 3.5 cups)
Bring to the boil then simmer for around 25 minutes. Serve with optional yoghurt
Remove the preserved fruit of the black lime (taking out the pips) and blitz in a spice blender to make the powder
You can use a tablespoon of pomegranate molasses if you don't have black lime
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