Persian Rice


3 cups basmati rice
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon saffron
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 lrg onion roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 cup finely chopped dill
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 1/2 cups fresh lima beans
package (or two thawed 10-oz frozen limas)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter


Place rice in a medium bowl, and add enough water to cover. Pour off water, and repeat process twice, rinsing rice thoroughly. Add 2 teaspoons salt to rice and enough water to cover. Let stand 30 minutes.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drain rice, and add to boiling water. Boil until the rice feels tender between your fingers, 5 to 10 minutes.
Using a mortar and pestle, grind saffron and sugar. In a small bowl, combine ground saffron-and-sugar mixture with 1/4 cup hot water; set aside for 10 to 15 minutes. In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook for 2 minutes. Add turmeric, and stir to combine. Continue to cook until the onions are lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
Stir in dill, remaining teaspoon salt, pepper, and lima beans to combine. Add 1 tablespoon of saffron mixture and 2 tablespoons water to moisten slightly. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Drain rice in a colander. Add a little water to the pot, to remove any remaining grains of rice. Pour over rice in colander; set aside.
In a large nonstick saucepan, add 1 tablespoon saffron-and-water mixture (saving the remainder for another use), 2 tablespoons olive oil, butter, and 2 tablespoons water. Cook until butter is melted. Pour out one-half of saffron-and-butter mixture; set aside. Add enough of the drained rice to just cover the bottom of the saucepan, about 1/2 inch deep. Add about 3/4 cup bean mixture, spreading evenly over rice. Add the remaining rice to the beans, stirring to combine. Transfer to saucepan, spreading evenly. Drizzle remaining saffron-and-butter mixture over rice. Cover top of saucepan with a thick kitchen towel, and place lid on top. Cook over low heat for 30 minutes. Using a large platter, invert rice onto platter.




Comments: In Iran, there are as many as five different types of rice (berenj). Since Iranian varieties are not available in the United States, use basmati rice as an alternative. Boiled and then steamed, Persian rice combines fluffy grains with a crunchy top layer known as Tah dig, a crucial element of the dish, which forms at the bottom of the rice pot as the dish cooks. For perfect, crisp and golden-brown Tah dig, use a large, nonstick pot to cook the rice. To further prevent the crust from sticking to the pot, line the bottom with aluminum foil. Just before serving, invert the finished dish onto a plate so that the crust is on top.


6.0 servings


Friday, December 10, 2010 - 1:02am


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