Monday, September 7, 2009

Persian Rice

(Before I start I just need to mention that the final picture of the rice isn't from this weekend, it's from a friends party because while I remembered to take pictures of the steps, I forgot to take a picture of the final product) 

When I turned 18, I got really sassy for a minute and told my dad that he couldn't tell me what to do anymore because I was now an adult. Without even looking up from what he was doing he told me "Persian girls don't become women until they learn how to make rice and make it well". 


The main difference between the Persian style of making rice and pretty much all other non-middle eastern countries is that our method is kind of a hassle. Although, I have to admit, tastes a million times better. We start off by rinsing basmati rice several times. Basically what you do is put however many cups of rice you want to make in a big bowl and pour water in it and drain until the water goes from opaque to as clear as you can make it. The you dump it gently into a big pot full of water and add salt. You'll want about one inch of water above the rice, cook until it boils gently. 

You can't really go by times because it's all a matter of how much rice, how hot the water is, how much water, etc. That, and Persians are notorious for ambiguous answers. One time I asked how much salt to add and I was given the answer "yeh chosaki". Do you know what a "chosaki" is??? A little silent fart. Yes, ladies and gentleman, thousands of years of culture and we add a silent little fart's worth of salt. I don't what's funnier, that we do that or the fact that we have a separate word for silent farts as opposed to just calling them regular farts. 

Back to the rice. 

Good girl

Stir it VERY gently, occasionally. Once it rumbles a little bit and the rice tastes like it's almost cooked but still has a bit of a bite in the middle, it's time to drain it. 

Rice that's ready to be drained

Drained rice

One of the best things about Persian rice is the "tah-deegh" which literally translates to "bottom of the pot". There are various kinds of this, rice, bread, rice and yogurt, or potato. It serves as a buffer I guess, to keep the rice from sticking/burning to the pot. Before putting the rice back into the pot to steam, you pour a nice layer of oil in the pot. Then add what you want to use for the tahdeegh. I used potato. 

Tastes even better than a french fry 

Then you GENTLY scoop the rice over the potatoes into a dome shape and let it steam on low heat until it's cooked all the way through. 

Rice about to be covered and let to steam.

It's after this point I forgot to take pictures. My bad! But once the rice is cooked, what people generally do is take some ground saffron, dissolve it a small amount of water, then mix that with butter and add that to a small portion of rice to use on top of the final platter of rice. It makes it look very pretty and it tastes amazing. 

That's actually from Thanksgiving because we Persians serve rice and stew along with our turkey.

1 comment:

  1. My last girlfriend was half Persian and her father was an amazing cook. He made the best lamb and rice. I used to hate rice as a kid but I've learned to love it...especially Basmati.