|dates being sauteed in butter|
persian rice is typically (briefly) boiled, then drained and steamed for about an hour-there is always a question (and disagreement) as to how long exactly you should boil the rice prior to draining it. it’s not an exact science, and it’s almost instinctive, but if i had to put a number on it, i’d say it takes about 7 minutes (6-10). i’m adding a picture which should help. even though the process seems a bit daunting, it’s simpler than it looks if you have all your ingredients lined up and ready to go.
- 2 cups long-grain basmati rice
- 1/2 cup small black lentils
- 1/2 cup small green lentils
- coarse kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1-2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2-3 tbs safflower oil
- 1 tbs (or so) butter
- dates (about 12-15), pitted
- 1 tsp ground saffron+
- 1 tsp whole toasted cumin
- 2 tsp persian red rose petals or buds (gole-sorkh)#
2. boil about 8 cups of water with 2 tbs kosher salt. clean and wash the rice about 4-5 times until the water is clear, then add it to the boiling water. now the tricky part-keep a close eye on the rice while it boils briskly (on high) for about 6-10 minutes, and gently stir a few times (not too much). when the rice looks like it has softened (at about 7 minutes), drain it in a large fine mesh colander. rinse with warm water. let the water drain out.
4. pour 1/2 cup water and the remaining oil (or clarified butter) carefully over the top of your pyramid (i use a slotted spatula to evenly distribute). place a clean dish towel (or you can use paper towels) on top of the pot and cover firmly with your lid.
7. when serving the rice let the pot rest for 2-3 few minutes, then remove the very top saffron rice and set aside. serve the rest in you platter, top with the saffron infused rice you had set aside. add the fried dates (and braised saffron chicken with the juices). detach and serve the crust (tah-deeg) from the bottom of the pan with a spatula (wooden)-this is usually the most popular part of the dish. if you want extra flavor (and calories), pour a little more clarifed butter on top of it all. enjoy.
+ everything for the spice mixture should be available at your persian or middle eastern market, or on line @http://www.sadaf.com/ look for rose buds.
# i grind my saffron in a small electric spice grinder (dedicated to saffron) with 1/2 a sugar cube-then store in a airtight container.