Persian White Rice with Tahdig Crust
Recipe contributed by Ramin Ganeshram; photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser
Prep Time: 25 minutes Cook Time: 55 minutes
The secret to the long, fluffy grains of Persian rice is a combination of steaming and a method that “traps” the excess moisture away from the rice as it steams. While the oil required may seem excessive, it’s absolutely necessary in order to get the prized tahdig crust at the bottom of the rice pot.
2 cups high-quality basmati rice, such as Lal Quila
1 tablespoon coarse salt
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon of olive oil, divided
- Wash the rice: Place it in a deep bowl and fill the bowl with cold water. Swirl the water around with your hand until it is cloudy. Carefully drain the water. Repeat 4 or 5 times until the water is clear. Set aside.
- Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large nonstick saucepan or a large cast-iron pot that has a lid. Add the salt and 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the rice and simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes. Drain in a fine-mesh sieve. Reserve the rice pot.
- Add ¼ cup water to the rice pot and 1 tablespoon of the oil to the rice pot. Swirl it around with a spoon. Return the drained rice to the pot by adding one heaping spoonful at a time; place the first spoonful in the center of the pot and keeping adding add spoonfuls, mounding them to create a pyramid, until all the rice is used. Drizzle the remaining oil over the rice and pour another ¼ cup of water over it. Use a rubber spatula to smooth the pyramid up into a smooth cone.
- Place a clean dish towel or a few sheets of doubled-up paper towels over the pot and then squeeze the lid into place. Cook over low heat for 30 to 40 minutes.
- Remove the rice from the heat and transfer to a serving platter. Turn it out onto a platter. Top with Persian Beef Stew. Serve immediately, dividing the tahdig equally and fairly.
From the Test Kitchen:
Ramin’s rice is best served immediately. Her tip for removing the tahdig, or crust, from the pot is: “Carefully hold the bottom of the pot under cold water. Then use the spatula to loosen the crust.” The Weiser Kitchen’s testers found that if you use a good quality nonstick pan, the tahdig will come right out.