Saffron steamed basmati rice (lf)

Yield: 6 Servings

Measure Ingredient

3 c basmati rice -- long grain 6 c water

2 ts salt

3 TB olive oil

4 TB plain low-fat yogurt

1 ts saffron -- dissolved in

4 TB hot water

This is a master recipe that details certain steps applicable to all other rice recipes.

1. Clean by picking over the rice. Basmatic rice like any other contains many small solid particles. This grit must be removed by picking over the rice carefully by hand.

2. Wash the rice by placing it in a large container and covering it with lukewarm water. Agitate briskly with your hand, then pour off the water. Repeat five times until the rice is completely clean. When washed rice is cooked it gives off a delightful perfume that unwashed rice does not have. *If using long-grain AMERICAN or Texmati rice, it is not necessary to soak or wash five times. (Once is enough.) Cooking rice with salt firms it up to support the long cooking time and prevents the rice from breaking up. The grains swell individually without sticking together The result is light and fluffy rice called Pearls of Persian Cuisine.

3. Bring 6 cups of water with 2 teaspoons salt to a boil in a large non-stick pot. Pour the washed and drained rice into the pot. Boil briskly for 6 to 10 minutes; stir gently twice with a wooden spoon to loosen any grains that may have stuck to the bottom. Bite a few grains. If the rice feels soft, it is ready. Drain rice in a large free-standing straineror sieve. 4. In the same pot, heat 2 tablespoons oil, two full spatulas of rice, 4 tablespoons yogurt, and I tablespoon saffron water; spread this mixture over the bottom of the pot and even out with back of a spatula. This will help to make a golden crust (_tah dig_).

5. Take one spatula full of rice at a time and gently place it on top of the bottom layer, gradually shaping the rice into a pyramid. This shape leaves room for the rice to expand. Poke 1 or 2 holes in the rice pyramid with the handle of a wooden spoon.

6. Cover and cook rice for 10 minutes over medium heat in order to form a gold crust.

7. Dissolve 1 tablespoon oil in ½ cup hot water and pour over the rice pyramid. Place a clean dish towel or 2 layers of paper towel over the pot and cover firmly with the lid toprevent steam from escaping. Cook for 50 minutes longer over low heat.

8. Remove the pot from heat. Allow to cool on a damp surface for 5 minutes without uncovering it. This helps to free the crust from the bottom of the pot. Then put 2 tablespoons of rice in a dish, mix with remaining saffron water, and set aside for garnish.

9. Gently taking one spatula full of rice at a time, place it on a serving platter without disturbing the crust. Mound the rice into a cone. Sprinkle the saffron rice garnish overthe top. For a tastier effect, you may melt 2 tablespoons butter and drizzle over the rice.

10. Detach the layer of crust from the bottom using a wooden spatula.

Place on a small platter and serve on the side or arrange it around the rice.

Copyright (c) 1994 by Najmieh Khalili Batmanglij. Persian Cooking for a Healthy Kitchen. Washington, D.C: Mage (Pub 800 - 962-0922) [prepared for McRecipe by patH 09/22/1996 (Sun)] "The purpose of this book is to modernize -- to adapt Persian recipes to today's low-fat, high-flavor eating styles. The foundation for much of Persian cooking is rice." (NB, Georgetown, 1994) Recipe By : Persian Cooking for a Healthy Kitchen From: Date:

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