Disclaimer: I am not Persian. This recipe my mother learned from Fatima in Tehran when we lived there in 1973. I grew up eating this dish and learned it at my mother's elbow. It was also a company dish and many people claiming to hate eggplant enjoyed this dish.
The rice is cooked Chelo-style; producing a crispy coating of rice called tahdig. This is intentional and a prized item at the Persian table. Gaining skill with this technique will allow the rice to turn onto a plate as if a cake and makes a lovely presentation.
Salting the eggplant removes moisture and bitterness from the fruit, improving the taste and texture.
Dry the eggplant and the beef by blotting with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel make sure you are drying the eggplant first. I prefer the kitchen towel to the paper towel so as to not end up with paper in the dish.
To achieve a tight cover on the rice, some cooks will wrap the lid in a kitchen towel.