Rice, or as we say in Farsi, polow is the main grain consumed in Persian cuisine. Persians have mastered the art of cooking rice and have taken it to a whole different level. Rice is soaked and masterfully steamed to create a light and fluffy texture. The bottom of the pot is also cooked to a crispy perfection by adding ghee or butter and saffron and served upside down to showcase the beautiful and enticing golden crust, tahdig.
Polo ba Zaferoon
- 2 cups white basmati rice, soaked and rinsed
- 8 1/4 cups water, divided
- 2 tablespoons salt, for parboiling the rice and will be rinsed out.
- 4 tablespoons butter or ghee, divided
- 1/8 teaspoon ground saffron, dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water
- Wash the rice thoroughly and set aside to soak for at least one hour.
- In a large covered pot, bring 8 cups water and salt to a boil. Add the rinsed rice and boil on high heat uncovered for about 7-8 minutes, or until the rice has slightly softened.
- Drain the rice in a colander and set aside while you prepare the pan.
- Melt 2 tablespoons ghee in a non-stick pot over low heat. In a small bowl, mix 1 cup of the lightly cooked rice with 1 tablespoon of saffron-water mixture, gently mix and spread evenly in the bottom of the pot. This will be the crispy rice referred to as Tah-dig.
- Pour the remainder of the rinsed rice to the pot and lightly fluff with a fork. Cut up the remaining 2 tablespoons ghee into pieces and evenly spread over the top of the rice.
- Pour the additional 1/4 cup water evenly over the top of the rice. Wrap the lid with a clean towel and place on top of the pot. This will allow the rice to steam.
- Allow the rice to steam over a medium-low to medium heat for 45 minutes.
- Pour the remaining 1 tablespoon saffron water over the top of the rice. Turn off the heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.