Karmir Pilaf - Armenian "Red Rice"

July 15, 2021
2 Ratings
Photo by Anais Babajanian
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

This recipe is the definition of comfort food for Iranian-Armenians. It’s comprised of aromatic basmati rice, tender chunks of beef, and diced potatoes, all cooked in an unctuous tomato-ey sauce.

Growing up in Houston, my mom always added a little Tex-Mex twist to it: salsa! It gives the dish a kick of spice and always makes me think of home. —Anais Babajanian

What You'll Need
  • 1 Yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Medium sized gold potatoes, diced
  • 2 cups Basmati rice
  • 1.5 pounds Beef chuck, cut into 1 inch cubes (grocery stores will normally have this packaged as "stew beef")
  • 1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes OR 7 large fresh tomatoes, crushed
  • 2-3 tablespoons Tomato paste
  • .5 cups Jarred red salsa of choice
  • 1 tablespoon Curry powder (I recommend Ship Madras Curry Powder)
  • 3 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 3-4 cups Water
  • 3 tablespoons Vegetable oil OR Olive oil
  1. Place rice in a large bowl and fill with water. Once you see the water turn cloudy, drain all the water from the bowl. Repeat this until the water is almost clear - about 3 to 4 times. Set aside.
  2. Cook your beef, using one of the following methods: 1. Pressure cooker/Instant Pot: Turn on sauté mode, add about 1 tbsp of oil. Once hot, add meat, and season with 1 tsp of salt and pepper, to taste. Sauté for 3-4 minutes until browned. Add 1 cup of water, and close the lid. Turn to high pressure, and cook for 25 minutes. Check to see if meat is tender, turn off the device, and set aside for later. 2. Stovetop: Add 1 tbsp of oil to a medium pot on medium heat. Add meat and saute for 3-4 minutes until browned. Add 2 cups of water, and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cover. Let cook for 1.5 hours. Check to see if meat is tender, remove from heat, and set aside for later.
  3. Add 2 tbsp of vegetable oil to a large pot on medium heat. Once hot, add onions and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until they are translucent and just starting to color.
  4. Add in garlic, sauté for about 1 minute, until fragrant.
  5. Add in curry powder, and stir for 30 seconds.
  6. Add potatoes, and sauté for 5 minutes.
  7. Add in tomato paste, and stir through for about 2 minutes, until it starts to darken.
  8. Add crushed tomatoes, salsa, 2 tsps salt, rice, beef, and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and cover. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes, until the excess water has almost evaporated.
  9. Check to see if the rice is cooked, and if it’s still a bit hard, add an additional ½ cup of water, and stir.
  10. Remove the lid, cover the pot with a paper towel, and place the lid back on. Let rice steam on low for an additional 10 minutes.
  11. Serve warm with yogurt, torshi (pickles), fresh herbs, or salad!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

0 Reviews