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Nadar's Traditional Persian Rice

Dry Rice - 2.5 pounds (or a full cup per person)
Salt -  4 tablespoons
Vegetable Oil -  1/5 of a cup

Serves: 6 to 8 people (based on persian appetites!)

Cleaning and preparation: clean the dry rice by spreading it in a tray and picking out anything that is not rice! Next you need to rinse the rice. Next soak the rice in a large bowl of water and add the salt, stirring to mix well. Let the rice soak in the water for anywhere between 1 to several hours (overnight).

Boiling: fill a two gallon cooking pot half way with water and let it come to a boil. Once the water is boiling, transfer the soaking rice in the boiling water. Let the rice cook in the boiling water for at least 10 minutes, stirring gently once every minute. Depending on the type of rice that you are using (hardness, texture, etc.) the boiling time differs. The best way to determine when the rice has boiled long enough is to use a spoon to take a few grains of rice from the boiling pot and examine the toughness. Generally, the rice is ready when the whole grain is soft, with a firm spot left in the center.

Washing: once the rice has boiled long enough, pour the contents of the boiling pot into a strainer and run a pitcher of cold water over the rice. The washing step serves two purposes. First, it immediately stops the cooking by lowering the temperature of the rice. Second, it washes out some of the starch so the rice will not be sticky when being served.

Steaming: the same pot used for boiling will be washed and cleaned for steaming the rice. Put the pot on the stove and set the temperature to medium high.

C A U T I O N: The initial high heat is essential for good Tah-deeg (discussed later); a minute or so into the steaming and after the pot has been sealed, you will be lowering the temperature to medium to prevent the rice from getting burned.

Pour the vegetable oil in the pot.

At this point you may line the bottom of the pot with thin bread (pita or Arabic bread) or 1/3 of an inch-thick potato slices. Due to the intense heat, the bottom of the rice pot produces the all popular Tah-deeg (means "bottom of the pot") which is a crispy, crunchy and delicious treat served with the rest of the cooked rice as a side dish.

Once you have poured the oil in the pot and lined the bottom of the pot with your favorites (or nothing; rice alone makes a great Tah-deeg), transfer the boiled/washed rice from the strainer to the pot. Use the handle of a wooden spatula or spoon to make several holes in the pile of rice. These holes serve as vertical breathing shafts so the rice can cook evenly.

Now you may seal the pot by using a few sheets of paper towel or a clean kitchen rag under the lid. Now bring the temperature down to MEDIUM and let the sealed rice cook for about 25-30 minutes.

Serving Suggestions
You may melt 2 tablespoons of butter or margarine and pour over the rice 5 minutes before it is ready. Once the steaming time is up, fill your kitchen sink half way with cold water and sit the pot of rice in the water. This will cause the immediate cooling of the pot so that your pot will separate from the rice inside, yielding a perfectly molded mound of rice for your serving tray.

Many types of cooked vegetables (beans, carrots, etc.), fruits (sour cherries, orange peels, etc.) or meats and stews can be added to the above recipe. The vegetables are usually added to the rice at the end of boiling step while fruits are mixed and steamed with the rice during the final steaming step.



Men always want to be a woman's first love. Women have a more subtle instinct: What they like is to be a man's last romance. (Oscar Wilde)