When we have the opportunity to eat Persian rice we take it. It is so delicious just by itself, but when you pair it up with Persian or Indian cuisine it is a match made in heaven. My friend, Diane, learned to cook Persian cuisine after she married. When we got together she often made the rice to go along with other Persian delights. I asked her how she did it, and she shared the method with me. It takes some time because you need to soak the rice first, but the cooking process is straight forward and it comes out perfect. This recipe makes a large quantity of rice, enough to use for a few days.
4 – cups basmati rice
1 – large potato
1 – package Goya Sazón Seasoning
1 – cup butter or canola oil
It is very important that you soak the rice for at least 5 hours prior to cooking. This removes the starch so that it does not stick together. The end result will produce a perfect bowl of fluffy rice. Fill a large pot of water with about 6-8 cups of water, 2 tbls. salt, and the rice. Let it soak for 5 hours.
Once the 5 hours has passed, drain the rice and set aside. In the same large pot, add about 8 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add 2 tbls. of salt and the rice. Bring back to a boil and cook about 5-6 minutes. The rice should be al dente (a little firm to the bite). Drain the rice and rinse quickly with cold water and set aside.
Peel and slice the potato in 1/8″ thick rounds. In the same large pot, add 3/4 cup of the butter or oil (I use half oil, half butter) to the pot. Add 1/2 packet of Sazón seasoning and let it come to a boil. Now add the sliced potatoes to the pan, making a solid layer on the bottom.
Sprinkle a little salt on top of the potatoes. This layer of potatoes will prevent the rice from sticking and burning. The potatoes will become golden brown and crispy. This is known as Tadig. It is delicious. You will want to serve it along with the rice. You can also use pieces of left over pita bread instead of the potato to make the Tadig.
Now it is time to steam the rice. Spoon the rice into the pot and form a pyramid. Take the handle of a wooden spoon and poke about 5 holes into the rice so that the steam will vent through as it cooks.
Cover the rice with a clean dish towel or dish cloth and place the lid on top of it. Be sure that the towel is not hanging over the sides near the flame. Cook on a medium-high flame for about 15 minutes. This will help to make the potatoes form a crust.
Dissolve 1/4 cup butter into 1 cup of hot water. Add the remainder of the Sazón seasoning and mix well. Drizzle it over the rice, put the dish towel back on along with the lid. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let cook for about 50 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let cool about 5 minutes. Spoon the rice into a large bowl. The rice will be fluffy and delicious.
Remove the potato crust (Tadig) and set aside on a plate. The crunchy potatoes will be a big hit.