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Chelow (Persian steamed rice) Recipe

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This recipe for Chelow (Persian steamed rice), by , is from The Young Family Cookbook, one of the cookbooks created at FamilyCookbookProject.com. We'll help you start your own personal cookbook! It's easy and fun. Click here to start your own cookbook!

Contributor:  
Contributor:  
Megan Young

Category:
Category:

Ingredients:  
Ingredients:  
2 cups Basmati rice
Prepared saffron (see below)
ľ cup (one stick) butter
1+2 Tsp. cumin seeds
4 oz. Greek yogurt (about half a 7oz. container)
Salt
Sumac, ground, for serving
A lot of patience

Directions:
Directions:
Put your rice in a dish deep enough to cover it with room leftover. Cover rice with warm tap water and swish it around the bowl with your hand gently, being careful not to break the grains. Drain the water between your fingers. Youíll see that the water is cloudy with starch. Repeat this process until the water runs clear. It can take half a dozen times. Once the water runs clear, cover with warm water, add 1tsp. salt, cover and allow rice to soak overnight.

Boil four cups of water in a deep, non-stick pot. Drain the rice and add it to boiling water. Boil for 10-15 minutes. The rice should not be fully cooked, but you should be able to bite into it with a crunch. Remove rice and drain it in a colander. Wipe down the inside of the pot with a damp rag and allow it to cool. Spoon several spoonfuls of the parboiled rice into a separate bowl. Melt half of your butter in a mixing cup. Add yogurt, 2 Tsp. prepared saffron and 1Tsp. cumin seeds to the bowl of rice and mix well. Spread this mixture over the bottom of the pot. Mix the remaining parboiled rice with 2Tsp. cumin seeds and pile it over the yogurt/rice mixture into a cone shape. Using the handle of a spoon or fork, or a chopstick works well, poke about a dozen holes in your rice cone to allow it to steam.

Melt remaining butter and add 2Tsp. prepared saffron and ľ hot water and mix well. Pour this over your rice covering evenly. Cover the pot and reinforce this with dish towels so that very little steam escapes. Cook over medium high heat for 10 minutes or until steam beings to seep from under the towels. Reduce the heat to medium low and continue to cook for another 15 minutes. Remove the pot from heat and allow it to cool for at least 10 minutes.

Once rice is cool (you can safely touch the outside of the pot), carefully flip the pot of rice onto a serving platter, the way you would remove a cake from its mold. Your result will be a platter of fluffy, steamed rice with a crispy crust called tahdig. Tahdig is the most buttery and crispy part of the rice, and what Iranians fight over at the dinner table. Make sure to save a few bites for yourself before sharing it with your guests!

Serve with any grilled meat or fish, or a khoresht (stew).

Or just go to the Persian Grill in Lafayette Hill or Kebab Cafe in Gateway shopping center because thatís a lot less time consuming than this recipe.


*For prepared saffron: Saffron is one of the most expensive spices you can buy, so making it go a long way is important. To prepare it for recipes, add a couple pinches to a glass spice jar and top with hot but not quite boiling water. Allow it to steep like tea and then cool. The brew should be bright orange. Seal the jar and store it in the refrigerator for 3 months. Penzeyís jars work perfectly. Careful not to get it on your clothes or counters though because it will stain anything.

Number Of Servings:
Number Of Servings:
4-6
Preparation Time:
Preparation Time:
At least a day
Personal Notes:
Personal Notes:
This recipe is delicious and incredibly satisfying to cook, but also a beast to prepare. I was briefly married to an Iranian and learned a lot of recipes from his mother, of which this is one. I love making it and introducing my friends to Persian cooking but itís not for every day, nor for an impatient cook. If you do decide to make this, I recommend going all out and making some of the other Persian recipes Iíve included in this cookbook, like Joojeh (chicken) kebab, Sabzi, Salad Shirazi and Mast O Moosir. There is a great Persian grocery called Caspian Grille (not the same as the Persian Grill I mentioned above, which is a full service restaurant) in Lafayette Hill, PA and they can help track down ingredients.

 

 

 

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