Eggplant and Beef Rice from Cooking and Cooking
Yield: Serves 3-4

Place the rice in a large bowl; pour lukewarm water, stir and pour off the water. Repeat four times until water runs clear. Then soak rice in salted (with 2 tablespoons salt) lukewarm water for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cover the oven rack with aluminum foil and place the sliced eggplants on the rack in a single layer. Bake in the oven until eggplants are soft, about 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Fry the eggplants until golden brown (don't use too much oil; whatever you use, eggplant will absorb). Place them on a paper towel to absorb the extra oil.

Meanwhile, heat a-tablespoon oil in a pot over medium heat, add the onion and saute until golden for 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Increase heat to medium-high; add the beef and saute until no longer pink. Reduce heat to medium, add the turmeric and stir. Add 2 cups warm water. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Simmer over medium heat until beef is tender, about 60 minutes. Then add 1/4 teaspoon saffron, cinnamon, cumin, angelica (Golpar), salt and pepper. Cook covered until beef is cooked completely and sauce is thick, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings. Set the beef mixture aside.

Drain the soaked rice and set aside. Pour water in a large non-stick pot (until it is 3/4-full), add 1 tablespoon salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the rice to the boiling water and cook uncovered until rice is a little tender (not quite tender) about 4 minutes, stirring once or twice. Remove from the stove; drain the rice in a colander.

Pour 2 tablespoons oil in the non-stick pot. Place a layer of thin bread in pot; it should cover the bottom of the pot.

Place a layer of rice over the bread. Cover with a layer of the eggplants and a layer of beef mixture. Repeat layering until rice, eggplants and beef beans are gone.

Pour 1/3 cup water over the rice. Try to make a nice mound in the middle. Sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon saffron. Using handle of a wooden spoon, make deep holes in rice. Put the lid on and cook over medium-high heat until it begins to steam (about 4-5 minutes). Then wrap a kitchen towel around underside of the pot lid, making sure it is secured on top and away from heat. Reduce the heat to low and cook for approximately 40-45 minutes. Don't overcook, you don't want the rice to become too mushy.

When rice is ready, remove the pot from the heat. Wet a towel with cold water and place the pot on the wet towel for a few moments (it helps to release Tah-deeg from the bottom of pot).

Transfer it to a serving dish.

For Tah-deeg; carefully remove the crusty bottom with a spatula in one whole piece.