This recipe inspired from Persian cuisine is a mix between shirin polo (sweet rice) and morassa polo (jewel rice) but without meat. They are holiday dishes (prepared for New Year’s Eve, weddings, or other special occasions), often served with chicken.
Sweet persian rice
- 350 g basmati rice
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 40 g butter
- sea salt
- 1 big carrot or 2 small ones
- 40 g barberries called zereshk
- 25 g orange zest (corresponds to approx. 2 medium oranges)
- 40 g peeled crushed pistachios
- 40 g peeled almonds
- 30 g sugar
- some saffron pistils
- This recipe begins with the classic Iranian rice preparation.Rinse the basmati rice two to three times until water runs clear. Fill a large casserole dish* with boiling water and add two teaspoons of sea salt. Add the basmati rice and make it "pre-cook" 5-6 minutes: the grain of rice must be still crunchy in the middle and cooked at its ends (al-dente, so to speak). `Drain and rinse immediately with cold water to stop cooking. * You need a thick-bottomed saucepan to form the rice crust, the favourite part of the Persian rice, called "Tahdig"
- Heat the bottom of the casserole dish and pour a generous drizzle of olive oil on it. Pour a few grains of rice: if it crackles, your casserole is hot enough. Otherwise wait a little until it gets hot.
- When the oil is hot, pour the rice (well drained) in the shape of a pyramid. Poke a couple of holes in the rice to allow the steam to circulate. Lower the heat, and cover with a lid covered with a cloth (it will keep the humidity). The lid must close tightly.
- Cook over low heat for 12 to 15 minutes (taste to check if it's cooked). Then lower the heat to its minimum and let cook for another 15 minutes.
- While the rice is cooking: prepare the filling. Start with the zest: wash the oranges (preferably organic) and zest them. Cut your zests into very thin strips. Then blanch them for 3 minutes in boiling water. You can repeat the operation a second time depending on the desired texture. Then, make them confit 5 good minutes in a saucepan with the sugar. Taste and add sugar if necessary / extend cooking time.Note: You can also use dried peel bought in shops if you want to shorten this step or if you do not have oranges.
- Cut the carrots into very thin sticks. Fry them for 5 minutes in butter in a frying pan. Add the orange zest and the syrup obtained, as well as the crushed pistachios, the barberries, and the finely chopped almonds.Note: you can also use slivered almonds.
- Add a little water to the pan (about 1/4 glass), then cook over very low heat until the filling is soft (at least 10 minutes). Taste, add water and a little sugar if necessary.
- When the rice is cooked: unmould it. Arrange the tahdig on a plate and the rest of the rice in a large dish.
- Crush a few pistils of saffron in hot water, and pour the water over the rice, filtering the saffron. Stir.
- Then carefully mix the rice with the filling and keep some for sprinkling on top when serving.
- Serve with Iranian flatbread (similar to lavash bread), or a white fish seasoned with lemon, or chicken.Nooshe-jân !