Today I found myself wanting to stay close to home and do all kinds of domestic things. After the chores had been knocked off one by one, I was still longing to do something comforting and truly homey.
Naturally, I ended up in the kitchen, and I started to explore some less well-known Persian recipes. I found myself changing them around just a little to suit my craving for comfort food.
The result of this pursuit was this rice pilaf, based on a dish that originated in the Kerman province of Iran, on the eastern side of the country. The recipe I came across doesn’t have any meat or beans in it; as it is traditional with Persian dishes, the protein is often cooked separately and served alongside the dish. Alternatively, I can totally see this dish accompanied by a couple of sunny side up eggs, with turmeric sprinkled on top, of course!
I opted to make this dish vegetarian by using chickpeas, but I would venture out and say you could also use lamb, beef, chicken, or prawns for the protein. Enjoy exploring while blending cultures and flavors!
Potato and Chickpeas
- 4 tablespoons ghee or butter,
- 2 onions, sliced
- 2 large yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 can chickpeas, rinsed
- 3 tablespoons cumin, seeds
- 1 tablespoon turmeric ground
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper, ground
- 8 1/4 cups water
- 2 cups basmati rice, soaked for one hour and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons salt, for parboiling the rice and will be rinsed out
- 4 tablespoons ghee or butter
- 1 bread, tortilla or lavash
Potato and Chickpeas
- In a medium sized frying pan, add 4 tablespoons of ghee and saute the onion over medium heat for about 10 minutes.
- Add the potatoes and continue to cook for an additional 10 minutes. Stirring occasionally.
- Once the potatoes have partially cooked and have become slightly golden, add chickpeas, spices, salt and pepper and saute for 2 additional minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- Bring 8 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of salt to a boil.
- Add the rinsed rice and boil on high heat uncovered for about 6-8 minutes. The rice should still have some texture and density to it.
- Drain the rice in a large colander and set aside while you prepare the pan.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of ghee in a nonstick pot and place the thin flat bread on the bottom. This will be the crispy bread tahdig!
- Begin by layering a 1/3 of the partially cooked rice and a 1/3 of the potato-chickpeas mixture into the pot and repeat until all of the rice and the potatoes-chickpeas have been layered in the pot. Gently mix the rice mixture to create a uniform mixture.
- Spread the remaining 2 tablespoons of ghee or butter evenly over the top of the rice and pour in a 1/4 cup of water over the rice.
- Wrap the lid with a clean towel and place on top of the pot. Allow the rice to steam over a medium-low to medium heat for about 45 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
- Select a large tray or platter to place on top of the pan and carefully and swiftly invert the rice onto the platter.
- Serve the rice with a side of yogurt or Torshi, Persian pickled eggplants.