Right off the bat, I have to admit that there was a bit of fail in this dish. See I am an honest blogger, I dont have to admit anything to you guys because I invented the idea, so I could just pretend that it came out right! The idea here is a Middle Eastern version of the ultimate Italian dish, the Timpano. (Timpano means drum in Italian, and a dombak is a Persian bongo drum) I planned to cook all of my favorite Persian foods, layer them up with rice, and bake the rice to form a “tahdig” or crispy rice layer as the crust of the dombak. Everything came out perfectly and the meal was delicious, but time and time again I struggle to get a nice tahdig. I have done ok with my cast iron on the stove top, but I feel like I should be able to get the same effect in a nice hot oven! I will have to do some R&D and get back to you…
The dombak consists of 5 elements. A chicken and pomegranate stew known as fesenjan, a simple lentil dhal, chicken kababs, the rice, and these meatballs. This is an old friends moms recipe, she usually makes them as patties though.
Making the stew. The recipe link is at the bottom.
Pom syrup is made by reducing pom juice with some sugar and lemon juice.
Chicken in the stew with onions, then the pom walnut mixture is poured in.
The chicken came out when it was fully cooked and we shredded it. The chicken is going into the dombak, while the stew sauce is being used as a topping.
Next, the kabobs. This is for the marinade, along with yogurt.
After it sits awhile, skewer and grill.
Finally, the rice is being prepped for baking.
This is 1/4 of the rice coated with the butter/yogurt mixture to help it brown up (even though it didn’t)
Building the dombak. We pre-heated the bowl so that the rice would start to cook and crust up right away.
Flipping is always a scary moment.
Yum! This meal was really really good, too bad it didn’t come out as I had hoped!
The toppings are some of the extra lentils, the pomegranate stew, and a simple raita.
For the meatballs, one onion and a tablespoon of turmeric in the blender. Make a paste from it and add it to a pound of ground beef and some salt and pepper. Make into balls and pan fry.
For the Lentils, cook them in some chicken stock and/or water and salt until tender. about 20 minutes.
Chicken Kababs – In a food processor, a big handful each of parsley, dill, cilantro, tablespoon of dried fenugreek leaves, tablespoon smoked paprika, bunch of scallions, 2 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons pepper. After it is pasted up a bit, add 1 cup of yogurt and mix until combined. Mix with some chicken cut into kabob sized chunks. Soak an hour or 2, skewer and grill.
The pom stew recipe is here. I pulled the chicken out, shredded it and added to the dombak, then used the stew sauce for on the side.
The rice was basmati, first rinsed until the water runs clear, then boiled in lots of water like you would boil pasta. I used 4 cups of rice just to make sure I would have enough to fill the drum! When it is almost fully cooked but still has a bite to it, strain. Mix about 1/4 of it with some butter, yogurt, saffron, sugar, parsley, and dill, and use this to line the pot you are cooking in. This is the portion of rice that is supposed to get crusty. next layer all your stuff with rice running throughout. I baked mine at 375 for 40 minutes. Next time I am going to try 450 for that long, and I hope to try it with a cast iron bowl instead of ceramic.