Serve with green or black olives and fresh watercress. Kabseh spices (found in international markets) can be used instead of the cinnamon stick and cumin. Kabseh spice has a more robust flavor and the cinnamon and cumin combination is more subtle.
Saute the onion in the olive oil until soft and transparent. Stir the spices into the oil to release the flavors. Cook for a minute or two.
Whirl the fresh tomatoes in a food processor or blender until nearly smooth, and add to the meat. Stir in the water, yogurt, garlic and serrano pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Cover and simmer about 2 hours until the meat is tender. The tomato sauce will reduce somewhat.
After cooking 2 hours, measure the liquid. The amount of rice that needs to be added is based on the amount of liquid. Example: If sauce has 2 cups of liquid; then add 1 cup of rice. Can add more water if needed. Add rice and bring back to a boil. Cover saucepan with a dish towel (to absorb moisture) and replace lid. Simmer for approximately 20 minutes until moisture is gone and rice is done- do not stir.