*  Exported from  MasterCook  *
 
                     Saffron Steamed Basmati Rice (LF)
 
 Recipe By     : Persian Cooking for a Healthy Kitchen
 Serving Size  : 6    Preparation Time :1:15
 Categories    : Basic                            Healthwise
                 Persian                          Rice
 
   Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
 --------  ------------  --------------------------------
    3      cups          basmati rice -- long grain
    6      cups          water
    2      teaspoons     salt
    3      tablespoons   olive oil
    4      tablespoons   plain low-fat yogurt
    1      teaspoon      saffron -- dissolved in
    4      tablespoons   hot water
 
 This is a master recipe that details certain steps applicable to all other
 rice recipes.
 
 1. Clean by picking over the rice. Basmatic rice like any other contains many
 small solid particles.  This grit must be removed by picking over the rice
 carefully by hand.
 
 2. Wash the rice by placing it in a large container and covering it with
 lukewarm water. Agitate briskly with your hand, then pour off the water.
 Repeat five times until the rice is completely clean. When washed rice is
 cooked it gives off a delightful perfume that unwashed rice does not have. *If
 using long-grain AMERICAN or Texmati rice, it is not necessary to soak or wash
 five times. (Once is enough.)  Cooking rice with salt firms it up to support
 the long cooking time and prevents the rice from breaking up. The grains swell
 individually without sticking together The result is light and fluffy rice
 called Pearls of Persian Cuisine.
 
 3. Bring 6 cups of water with 2 teaspoons salt to a boil in a large non-stick
 pot. Pour the washed and drained rice into the pot. Boil briskly for 6 to 10
 minutes; stir gently twice with a wooden spoon to loosen any grains that may
 have stuck to the bottom. Bite a few grains. If the rice feels soft, it is
 ready. Drain rice in a large free-standing strainer or sieve.
 
 4. In the same pot, heat 2 tablespoons oil, two full spatulas of rice, 4
 tablespoons yogurt, and I tablespoon saffron water; spread this mixture over
 the bottom of the pot and even out with back of a spatula. This will help to
 make a golden crust (_tah dig_).
 
 5. Take one spatula full of rice at a time and gently place it on top of the
 bottom layer, gradually shaping the rice into a pyramid. This shape leaves
 room for the rice to expand. Poke 1 or 2 holes in the rice pyramid with the
 handle of a wooden spoon.
 
 6. Cover and cook rice for 10 minutes over medium heat in order to form a gold
 crust.
 
 7. Dissolve 1 tablespoon oil in 1/2 cup hot water and pour over the rice
 pyramid. Place a clean dish towel or 2 layers of paper towel over the pot and
 cover firmly with the lid to prevent steam from escaping. Cook for 50 minutes
 longer over low heat.
 
 8. Remove the pot from heat. Allow to cool on a damp surface for 5 minutes
 without uncovering it. This helps to free the crust from the bottom of the
 pot. Then put 2 tablespoons of rice in a dish, mix with remaining saffron
 water, and set aside for garnish.
 
 9. Gently taking one spatula full of rice at a time, place it on a serving
 platter without disturbing the crust. Mound the rice into a cone. Sprinkle the
 saffron rice garnish over the top. For a tastier effect, you may melt 2
 tablespoons butter and drizzle over the rice.
 
 10. Detach the layer of crust from the bottom using a wooden spatula. Place on
 a small platter and serve on the side or arrange it around the rice.
 
 Copyright (c) 1994 by Najmieh Khalili Batmanglij.  Persian Cooking for a
 Healthy Kitchen. Washington, D.C: Mage (Pub 800 - 962-0922) [prepared for
 McRecipe by patH 09/22/1996 (Sun)] “The purpose of this book is to modernize
 -- to adapt Persian recipes to today’s low-fat, high-flavor eating styles. The
 foundation for much of Persian cooking is rice.”  (NB, Georgetown, 1994)
 
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 NOTES : Basic Crusted Persian Rice
 Prep 15 mins | Cook 1 hr
 Chelo = Chelow