As there is no specific water-to-rice ratio you can cook any amount of rice by following this method, you’ll just need a large, non-stick, pan with a snugly fitting lid.
For a vegan version of this Persian rice, simply omit the butter and substitute with vegetable oil of your choice.
350g Basmati rice
1/4 teaspoon Saffron
1/2 teaspoon Sugar
1 tablespoon Vegetable oil
1. Wash your rice under cold running water until the water runs clear. This removes the excess starch which will help your grains separate and stay fluffy.
2. Soak the rice in a large bowl of water for about 20 minutes
3. Bring a large pot of water to the boil with 2 tablespoons of salt. Add the rice and boil for 4-5 minutes until the rice is half cooked – you want it to be soft on the outside but still firm in the middle. Drain and rinse the rice with some cold water and set aside.
4. Grind the saffron strands with the of sugar in a pestle and mortar and then adding 2 tablespoons of just boiled water. Leave to steep for 5 minutes.
5. Melt half the butter with the vegetable oil in your saucepan over a medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of saffron liquid, season with some salt and when the oil is hot, add a layer of rice to the pan and push it down with a wooden spoon so it covers the base of the pot.
6. Gently add the remaining rice, one spoonful at a time as you want to keep some air between the grains so they can stay separate whilst cooking.
7. Using the end of a wooden spoon, make 4 holes in the rice and dot the remaining butter in there.
8. Place a damp piece of baking parchment on top of the rice and place the lid on it tightly. Cook for 5 minutes over a medium heat and 15 minutes over a very low heat. Then take off the heat and leave to stand for 5 minutes. Do not sneak a peak as it will spoil the cooking process.
9. Fill the sink with a few centimetres of cold water and then place the pot in it with the lid still tightly on – the cold water will produce a rush of steam inside the pot which will release the base. Then take the lid of the pot and place a large plate over it. Quickly turn it over and you should have a beautiful Persian rice cake.
10. Scatter over finely chopped fresh herbs and rose petals if desired.
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 40 mins
Total time: 1 hour 10 mins
Yield: Serves 4