Many people become intimidated when it comes to making Persian rice. You have to trust me when I tell you it
- To Cook the Rice
- 5 cups basmati rice, checked and rinsed -
- 12 cups water -
- ½ cup canola oil -
- 3 Tbsp salt (preferably sea salt) -
- Steaming the Rice and Making Tadig
- 1/4-inch-deep canola oil poured into the bottom of the saucepan (depending on the size of the pot, you may need more or less oil); approximately 1/4 cup -
- 2 Tbsp water -
- 1/4 tsp turmeric and/or powdered saffron (optional, gives a more authentic flavor) -
- Optional Garnish - Saffron Rice
- 1 cup steamed white rice -
- 1 Tbsp saffron water (see below) -
To cook the rice:
1. Fill a large, nonstick saucepan (at least 6 quarts) with 12 cups of water. Add the oil and salt. Cover and bring to a brisk boil over high heat.
2. Add the rice and continue cooking over medium to high heat, stirring occasionally.
3. After 3–5 minutes, use a slotted spoon to scoop some grains from the water. Break one grain in half to make sure it is al dente (see above). Turn off the heat and pour the rice into the colander to drain. Set the rice aside.
To steam the rice and make tadig:
1. Place the empty 6-quart saucepan back on the stovetop over medium heat. Pour in the canola oil until it is about 1/4-inch deep and add the 2 Tbsp water. Add the turmeric and/or saffron powder. Stir together.
2. Add the drained rice and shape it into a pyramid or dome. Do not stir the rice into the whole pot. This way, the rice on top stays white and the tadig on the bottom gets the yellow color. Cover the pot and cook for 5–7 minutes until the rice begins to steam.
3. Uncover the pot and place two paper towels (one on top of the other) over the rice. The ends will extend outside the pot. Replace the lid tightly. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes. Turn off the heat and tilt the lid until ready to serve.
4. With a wide spatula, scoop the rice from the pot, making sure not to disturb the crust (tadig) that formed on the bottom of the pot. Serve the rice on a flat serving platter, mounding it into the shape of a pyramid. Turn the tadig out onto another flat serving platter by inverting the pot, as you would invert a cake pan, or cut it into pieces and serve around the rice.
To make saffron rice:
1. Mix together 1 tsp of crushed saffron threads and 1/4 cup hot water. Steep for a few minutes, until the water becomes yellow.
2. Mix one cup of saffron water with the steamed white rice. Use this intensely yellow rice to make designs on the chelo.
This article appeared in Kosher Inspired, Issue 3, March 2011. Kosher Inspired is brought to you by Mishpacha Magazine.