Saturday, March 26, 2011

Rice with Herbs (Sabzi Polow)

2 cups basmati rice
Salt for boiling the rice
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups finely chopped herbs of your choosing.
Note: A combination of tarragon, chives, flat-leaf parsley, and dill is good. Use a food processor to chop, if you have one.
6 scallions, finely chopped in a food processor
6 tablespoons butter or 4 tablespoons vegetable oil

1. Wash the rice in warm water and drain.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Pour in the rice and boil for about 12 minutes, until the rice is still slightly undercooked. Drain.
3. In the same pot, heat half the butter or oil. Pour in the rice, mixing in about ¾ of the fresh herbs and the teaspoon of salt. Add the remaining butter or oil. Stir gently.
4. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and steam for 15-20 minutes over very low heat. You want to create a very lightly brown crispy layer on the bottom of the rice. After the rice has finished cooking, you may need to turn up the heat a bit to crisp up the bottom, watching it carefully.
5. Add the remaining herbs just before serving. If you are using a nonstick pan, you may try flipping out the rice onto a large platter. If you have not, use a spatula to scrape the rice out into a serving bowl, displaying the beautiful crust or crusty bits on top.

You can also make this using leftover plain cooked rice from another occasion. Just begin the process at #3. If the rice is cold, it will take longer than 20 minutes to reheat and to form a crust. You can keep peeking inside the pan to check on the crust.

6-8 servings
Adapted from Claudia Roden's The New Book of Middle Eastern Food

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