If you haven’t yet tasted Persian rice and have seen someone licking his lips with its mention, you may think what so special about Persian rice is. You can realize its magic only after tasting it and then you will become a life member of Persian rice fans’ club. To add to the stories, the making of this rice is quite lengthy and elaborate; but the final product is indeed a reward. Here’s the recipe of this wonderful dish.
- 3 cups of extra-long-grain rice (preferably basmati), washed five times in warm water
- ½ tsp of saffron threads
- 4 tbsp of kosher salt
- 1 tbsp of hot water
- 4 tbsp of unsalted melted butter
- A pinch of sugar
Crush the saffron and sugar with a mortar and pestle to make a fine mixture. Add 1 tablespoon of hot water and stir.
Take 8 cups of water in a large bowl and add 2 tablespoons of salt to it and dissolve. Add rice to this salty water and allow it to soak for an hour. Drain the rice.
Take another 8 cups of water in a big nonstick pot and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of salt to it. Bring to a boil. Add the drained rice and let it boil again for 6 to 10 minutes or till the grains become firm, yet not crunchy. Stir the rice from time to time to avoid sticking. Drain the rice.
Clean the pot while the rice drains and place 1 tbsp of melted butter at the bottom. Swirl it around to make a film on the entire bottom and up to 2 inches on the sides. Spoon the rice at the center of the pot; don’t let it touch the sides. With a wooden spoon’s handle, make many holes in the rice mound, down to the bottom. Then pour the melted butter that is left on the top of the rice mound.
Cover the pot lid with a clean kitchen towel from all sides and secure it on the top with a rubber band or a clip to ensure that it doesn’t drop down on the flame. Cook the rice on a medium flame first for 10 minutes; then, reduce the flame to the lowest and again cook for another 30 minutes.
Remove the pot from stove and let it cool for 5 minutes. Uncover and take out 2 cups of cooked rice from the surface layer and shift it to another large pot. Place a large plate inverted on the opened pot and hold it tightly. Now invert the pot covered with the plate and let the rice drop in the plate. If needed, loosen it with a spatula. You will have a crust at the bottom, which you can take out if you want or leave it as it is.
Now to the rice in the other pot, add 8 drops of the saffron solution. Cover the pot and shake vigorously or stir till the rice is completely colored in yellow. Place this colored rice on the white rice in the plate in whatever way you want.
NOTE: The traditional process of making this rice has become much less time-consuming and easier with Persian rice cooker. So, you can try that and delight your family and guests in an easy way.