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melamed

Persian Rice

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We use a special Persian rice cooker that makes perfect tahdig. You dump in the rice, water, salt and oil all at once and by some magic it works. It really looks like the picture in the link below.

It is very different than a regular rice cooker, click here for some more information.

thanks for the link mhjoseph. I think I just might buy a perisan rice cooker but before I do that I will persevere and continue trying to make it using a stainless steal pot if only to be able to showoff to everyone, unless of couse this will take me forever (which it might :wink: )

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OMG!! I know what I am making for Dinner Friday night!! Thanks! And Sarah dear, if you ever find/buy a persian rice cooker, get me one too and I will reimburse you! And add some chocolates! :biggrin:

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OMG!! I know what I am making for Dinner Friday night!! Thanks! And Sarah dear, if you ever find/buy a persian rice cooker, get me one too and I will reimburse you! And add some chocolates! :biggrin:

Lior, I will keep my eyes open for the Persian rice cooker, and I am hoping I will find one soon because I sure do love chocolates

This is my first successful attempt at making tahdig in a stainless steal pot, it was very good! thanks for the help (a very big thanks goes to Shaya's grandmother!).

I used clarified butter and oil to make the tahdig and layered the rest of the rice in a cone shape on top, like Shaya's pictures. I never did see any steam coming out, perhaps I didn't wait long enough (couple minutes) but didn't want to burn it again.

So my next question, is it possible to remove the tahdig in one piece :wink: ?

gallery_63527_6501_163155.jpg

My only mistake was boiling the rice for too long (10 minutes and not 7) so the rice was stickier and more fragile than should be.

Shabzi polow (herb rice)

gallery_63527_6501_74559.jpg


Edited by melamed (log)

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That sabzi polow rice looks great, Melamed. And congratulations on getting a nice bit of crust on your white rice. Yes, 10 minutes does seem like a lot of boiling time. The rice should be strained while still quite al dente; my grandmother always broke a piece with her nail to test for readiness; I tend to taste, and I tell people it should still taste firm but not inedible.

As for getting it all off in one piece...I have certainly seen my grandmother turn the whole pot upside down and have the entire crust come off in one piece, but I have to admit I think that dates to the time they were using non-stick pots. With the stainless steel I can usually "scrape" it off in a few large pieces. It also sometimes helps to soak the bottom of the pot in some cold water to help loosen it before trying to remove it.

Here is some photos of the Persian rice we had in LA and Montreal last week.

Red Rice - made by my Aunt; I took the rice out of the pot, got the tahdig in a few pieces.

gallery_41870_2503_10295.jpg

White Rice - also made by my Aunt; I also was the one who plated the rice, and when I mentioned the tahdig sort-of didn't hold together all that well, she agreed saying that often happens when she uses only butter, as she did in this case

gallery_41870_2503_99848.jpg

Polow with Zereshk and Zaferan - from the restaurant "Teheran" in Montreal; their rice is always excellent; I wonder how they achieve this standard considering the large volumes they produce in a day

gallery_41870_2503_210129.jpg

Polow with Zaferan - and jujeh kabob, the divine chicken from Teheran

gallery_41870_2503_213724.jpg

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That sabzi polow rice looks great, Melamed.  And congratulations on getting a nice bit of crust on your white rice.  Yes, 10 minutes does seem like a lot of boiling time.  The rice should be strained while still quite al dente; my grandmother always broke a piece with her nail to test for readiness; I tend to taste, and I tell people it should still taste firm but not inedible.

As for getting it all off in one piece...I have certainly seen my grandmother turn the whole pot upside down and have the entire crust come off in one piece, but I have to admit I think that dates to the time they were using non-stick pots.  With the stainless steel I can usually "scrape" it off in a few large pieces.  It also sometimes helps to soak the bottom of the pot in some cold water to help loosen it before trying to remove it.

Here is some photos of the Persian rice we had in LA and Montreal last week. 

Red Rice - made by my Aunt; I took the rice out of the pot, got the tahdig in a few pieces.

gallery_41870_2503_10295.jpg

White Rice - also made by my Aunt; I also was the one who plated the rice, and when I mentioned the tahdig sort-of didn't hold together all that well, she agreed saying that often happens when she uses only butter, as she did in this case

gallery_41870_2503_99848.jpg

Polow with Zereshk and Zaferan - from the restaurant "Teheran" in Montreal; their rice is always excellent;  I wonder how they achieve this standard considering the large volumes they produce in a day

gallery_41870_2503_210129.jpg

Polow with Zaferan - and jujeh kabob, the divine chicken from Teheran

gallery_41870_2503_213724.jpg

Welcome back! You are right that 10 minutes is too long to boil the rice (my son walked off with the stop watch!). You are a true egulleter! whipping out your camera in the middle of dinner to photograph tahdigs across the country, we all appreciate it!

Is butter and oil better to use to form the tahdig than just butter? I would think that just butter is tastier.

The broadbeans are in season now and what better way to use it than in Persian rice?

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Welcome back! You are right that 10 minutes is too long to boil the rice (my son walked off with the stop watch!). You are a true egulleter! whipping out your camera in the middle of dinner to photograph tahdigs across the country, we all appreciate it!

Is butter and oil better to use to form the tahdig than just butter? I would think that just butter is tastier.

The broadbeans are in season now and what better way to use it than in Persian rice?

Thank you for the welcome. What to say about butter and oil. Of course it seems intuitive that butter would be better; I tend to use a combination of the two. My Mom only ever uses oil, corn oil actually (you may recall the zero-cholesterol tolerance :wacko: ) and her rice always has a lot of flavor. She also adds a fair amount of salt which no doubt brings out the flavors.

How lucky for you that broadbeans are already out. I adore them, the kids do too - although I know that these can be dangerous for some kids as I believe middle easterners have some sort of strong allergy to them. I found this photo of my Mom's persian rice with broadbeans and dill. This is truly one of my favorites. Let us know how it turns out. :smile:

Bagali Polow - Basmati with Favas and Dill, Topped with Zaferan

gallery_41870_2503_42304.jpg

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Welcome back! You are right that 10 minutes is too long to boil the rice (my son walked off with the stop watch!). You are a true egulleter! whipping out your camera in the middle of dinner to photograph tahdigs across the country, we all appreciate it!

Is butter and oil better to use to form the tahdig than just butter? I would think that just butter is tastier.

The broadbeans are in season now and what better way to use it than in Persian rice?

Thank you for the welcome. What to say about butter and oil. Of course it seems intuitive that butter would be better; I tend to use a combination of the two. My Mom only ever uses oil, corn oil actually (you may recall the zero-cholesterol tolerance :wacko: ) and her rice always has a lot of flavor. She also adds a fair amount of salt which no doubt brings out the flavors.

How lucky for you that broadbeans are already out. I adore them, the kids do too - although I know that these can be dangerous for some kids as I believe middle easterners have some sort of strong allergy to them. I found this photo of my Mom's persian rice with broadbeans and dill. This is truly one of my favorites. Let us know how it turns out. :smile:

Bagali Polow - Basmati with Favas and Dill, Topped with Zaferan

gallery_41870_2503_42304.jpg

I like that spiral of safron on the rice.

About favism, this is an inherited condition, high amoung sephardic jews, in which broadbeans can't be eaten because of the lack of the G6PD enzyme. It causes anemia by red blood cell hemolysis. This is one of the reasons falafel stands use chickpeas in Israel, although in Egypt, for example, it is made with broadbeans.

If I remember correctly all new borns are screened for G6PD deficiency.

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My pick would have to be zereshk polo ba morgh, with chicken, barberries (though I've usually substituted cranberries, which my family seems to prefer anyway) and pistachios. I know the traditional preparation calls for bone-in chicken pieces, but I find that at parties and potlucks (which are typically the occasions at which I serve the dish), boneless cubes of chicken make for easier eating. Also, in a completely unnecessary step, I like to mold the dish and then unmold it right before serving. It seems to stay warm longer, and looks very pretty. I also like to vary the design every time I serve it. As for molds, I've used everything from maqlouba pots to roasting pan lids. :smile:

Here's a picture I snapped with my cell phone of the dish I took to my parents' house for Eid al Fitr. Unfortunately, the colors look rather dark, but you get the idea of how it's structured.

gallery_58997_6618_45135.jpg


Edited by nolafoodie (log)

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My pick would have to be zereshk polo ba morgh, with chicken, barberries (though I've usually substituted cranberries, which my family seems to prefer anyway) and pistachios. I know the traditional preparation calls for bone-in chicken pieces, but I find that at parties and potlucks (which are typically the occasions at which I serve the dish), boneless cubes of chicken make for easier eating. Also, in a completely unnecessary step, I like to mold the dish and then unmold it right before serving. It seems to stay warm longer, and looks very pretty. I also like to vary the design every time I serve it. As for molds, I've used everything from maqlouba pots to roasting pan lids. :smile:

Here's a picture I snapped with my cell phone of the dish I took to my parents' house for Eid al Fitr. Unfortunately, the colors look rather dark, but you get the idea of how it's structured.

gallery_58997_6618_45135.jpg

That is a lovely way to present the rice and I am going to have to try your technique. What is a maqlouba pot and where can I buy one? I have made maqlouba, or attempted to (with eggplants and chicken) but perhaps with a special pot I would be able to turn it out properly. Where did you learn how to make zereshk polo ba morgh, looks delicious!

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My pick would have to be zereshk polo ba morgh, with chicken, barberries (though I've usually substituted cranberries, which my family seems to prefer anyway) and pistachios.

Could I please please please have the recipe? I've been really interested in Persian as of late.

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i have been wanting to try to cook a persian rice dish for quite some time. To that end, I've picked up the lovely book, Silk Road Cooking by Najmein Batmanglij. I don't eat meat so I thought this would be a good place to start as it is all vegetarian.

Does anyone have the book? If so, any recommendations on recipes?

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My pick would have to be zereshk polo ba morgh, with chicken, barberries (though I've usually substituted cranberries, which my family seems to prefer anyway) and pistachios. I know the traditional preparation calls for bone-in chicken pieces, but I find that at parties and potlucks (which are typically the occasions at which I serve the dish), boneless cubes of chicken make for easier eating. Also, in a completely unnecessary step, I like to mold the dish and then unmold it right before serving. It seems to stay warm longer, and looks very pretty. I also like to vary the design every time I serve it. As for molds, I've used everything from maqlouba pots to roasting pan lids. :smile:

Here's a picture I snapped with my cell phone of the dish I took to my parents' house for Eid al Fitr. Unfortunately, the colors look rather dark, but you get the idea of how it's structured.

gallery_58997_6618_45135.jpg

All of the rice pictures have been so pretty. This one is especially stunning.

I want to cook the cherry rice, with lamb. Is that a single recipe or do I make the cholow , and cook the lamb separately?

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Wow, thanks for all the compliments! :wub:

I learned the recipe from some acquaintances of mixed Iraqi and Iranian extraction. :) As for a maqlouba pot, I tried looking for a picture online, but can't seem to find one, so I'll just describe it as best I can. The pot is round, with slightly flared sides, and made of aluminum (sometimes Teflon-coated on the inside and painted red on the outside). It has a fairly prominent rim (about 1"), but no handles.

As for the recipe, goodness, I don't even use a recipe anymore (I've never been one to use recipes in cooking anyway). Let me see if I can recreate the process. Mind you, the amounts I list below yield a large amount of food. :)

Ingredients:

2.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken pieces, cubed (or about 4 lbs. bone-in, cut up)

4 lbs. basmati rice, rinsed well to remove excess starch

6 oz. dried zereshk/barberries (rinsed very well, several times, then soaked in hot water) or up to 12 oz. dried cranberries

3 large onions, diced

6-12 oz. slivered or chopped pistachios

Salt, to taste

Middle Eastern seasoning mix, to taste (I like "mixed spices" or "kabseh seasoning," but any blend of allspice, cinnamon, cardamom, etc. will do -- as long as it has little or no cumin)

Generous pinch saffron

Butter/ghee/oil for sauteing

Water, for boiling rice

Directions:

1. In a large skillet, sweat one diced onion in 2 tablespoons oil/ghee/butter. Add chicken and salt and seasoning mix to taste. Saute until chicken is lightly brown and cooked through. Meanwhile, steep saffron in about one cup boiling water.

2. In a separate skillet, saute nuts in 1 tablespoon fat, until barely fragrant. Remove to plate and wipe skillet clean. Then saute berries in about 2 tablespoons fat, until oil is absorbed and berries become glossy. Again, remove to plate and wipe skillet. Finally, saute onions in several tablespoons of fat until light brown and crisp. (These items can be prepared ahead.)

3. Fill a large (at least 12-quart) pot 2/3 with water and bring to a boil. Salt the water as appropriate, and add the rice. Boil until barely "al dente," or about 3/4 cooked. Drain immediately, but do not rinse. Work quickly from this point forward, to preserve the heat of the rice and ensure that it comes out fluffy.

4. In a separate bowl, combine 1/4-1/3 of the rice with 1/2 cup of the saffron water. Cover with a clean towel (or a few paper towels) and aluminum foil.

5. In the same pot in which the rice was cooked, spoon in about 1/4 of the remaining rice. Sprinkle lightly with saffron water (over only one side), then sprinkle with some of the onions, nuts, and berries. Repeat for a few more layers, building the rice into a mound rather than smoothing or flattening it. Be sure to leave enough onions, nuts, and berries for topping. Cover with a clean towel and place the lid on the pot tightly. Let it steam over low heat on the stove, for about 15 minutes.

6. To serve: (a) spoon 1/2 of the rice/berry/nut/onion mixture into a serving platter or dish. Top with chicken, and then remaining rice mixture. Top with the rice that was steamed in saffron water (should be very yellow) and reserved berries, nuts, and onions, arranged in a pretty design. Alternatively, (b) create a design using reserved berries, nuts, and onions, along the bottom of a well-oiled pot, large bowl, or roasting pan lid large enough to fit all the rice and chicken. Anchor the design with yellow rice. Top yellow rice with 1/2 of the rice mixture, then the chicken, then remaining rice mixture. Pack slightly and smooth, then cover and allow to rest until serving time. To serve, invert onto a large platter.

This dish sounds like a lot more work than it actually is. If you skip some of the molding/presentation techniques, it can even be a reasonably quick weeknight meal.

Enjoy!

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THANK YOU nolafoodie! Will save that recipe now.

How long do the barberries need to be soaked for (I've never used nor seen it before)? Are these only available in Middle Eastern food shops?

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thanks for the recipe nolafoodie! it is interesting to see the mix of Persian and Iraqi influences in the recipe. Also thanks for your discription of the maqlouba pot, next time I go to Lod shuk I will keep my eyes open for it. I would think that the merchants would sell this type of pot because many Arabs and Bedouins populate this shuk. I will keep my eyes open!

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You're both very welcome. :)

Ce'nedra, about 15 minutes should do. But before you soak them, you will want to pick through them to remove any rocks, stems, or leaves that might accompany them. Rinse them several times, and then if you use a strainer or colander to hold the barberries during soaking, the last of the dirt should settle below the colander.

As for availability, I've never seen barberries sold anywhere other than Middle Eastern grocery stores and international supermarkets with large Middle Eastern sections. BTW, they should be red when you purchase them. You might even find them frozen to preserve their color. If stored too long, they turn an unappetizing dark brown.

Melamed, you should have no problem at all finding this pot. In the Arab areas, every kitchen store has many of these pots in stock, in varying sizes. But honestly, you don't need a maqlouba pot, because you don't even have to use the molded assembly method. But if you want to, you can use a large mixing bowl, a regular shallow pot, or even, as I mentioned previously, the lid from a roasting pan. :)

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You're both very welcome. :)

Ce'nedra, about 15 minutes should do. But before you soak them, you will want to pick through them to remove any rocks, stems, or leaves that might accompany them. Rinse them several times, and then if you use a strainer or colander to hold the barberries during soaking, the last of the dirt should settle below the colander.

As for availability, I've never seen barberries sold anywhere other than Middle Eastern grocery stores and international supermarkets with large Middle Eastern sections. BTW, they should be red when you purchase them. You might even find them frozen to preserve their color. If stored too long, they turn an unappetizing dark brown.

Melamed, you should have no problem at all finding this pot. In the Arab areas, every kitchen store has many of these pots in stock, in varying sizes. But honestly, you don't need a maqlouba pot, because you don't even have to use the molded assembly method. But if you want to, you can use a large mixing bowl, a regular shallow pot, or even, as I mentioned previously, the lid from a roasting pan. :)

I am just back from a trip to Jordan and did not find a maqlouba pot with slightly sloping sides like you described. Seems that in Jordan at least they just use a regular aluminum pot. The maqlouba in Jordan was delicious but an everyday one without being molded or decorated.

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I am just back from a trip to Jordan and did not find a maqlouba pot with slightly sloping sides like you described. Seems that in Jordan at least they just use a regular aluminum pot. The maqlouba in Jordan was delicious but an everyday one without being molded or decorated.

That's interesting. Come to think of it, I don't think I recall seeing any in Amman either. But I know for certain that they're ubiquitous in the West Bank.

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Wow, just when I thought I'd seen all the different ways to approach chelo/pollo and tahdig, along comes Shaya with a new one! :) I've never heard of leaving it open until the steam starts to come through the rice, but it's so logical!

For me, finding that right temperature and cooking time is always a bit variable depending on the pot and the stove. So on my present stove, after a few tries, I've finally found the right settings. I usually err on the side of undercooked tahdig, so each time I up the flame just a bit for the cooking (I aim for around 20-25 minutes total).

Generally, for pollo where there is a broth poured over the rice, like in havij pollo, a slightly lower temp is necessary because the sugars from the onions and carrots allow it to burn much more easily. The first time I ever made havij pollo, it came out perfectly for some reason - pure luck. But now I'll definitely try it with the "pot open" technique, and pour the liquid over just before sealing the pan with the towel. Hmm...I think I'll go put that rice on to soak right now! ;)

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It is cherry season in Israel and when I went to the shuk (carmel) I bought myself a kg of sour cherries. With these I was intent on making Persian cherry safron rice (albalu pelow). I used a combination of recipes, including the tip Shaya gave us about stacking the rice in a pyramid and waiting for the steam to escape before adding the cherry syrup and covering with a towel and top. The tah-dig was good but had to scrape it off the bottom.

I took me an hour pitting all the cherries - in most recipes I saw they use either dried cherries or jarred cherries in syrup. I would make it again-next cherry season.

gallery_63527_6501_76488.jpg

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I took me an hour pitting all the cherries

What did you do with the seeds? Isn't mahlab sour cherry seeds?

BTW, the rice looks wonderful


Edited by scubadoo97 (log)

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I took me an hour pitting all the cherries

What did you do with the seeds? Isn't mahlab sour cherry seeds?

BTW, the rice looks wonderful

really? I threw them out! are you saying I should have ground them up and used them in kaak, or other cookies? I didn't even think about that. can I eat the sweet cherry pits as well?

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Went to a persian resturant. Order kobobs and it came with rice, some of the rice was yellow others were plain white. All mixed in a nice savory bed.

The kobob was outstanding but the rice was just out of this world. We also had cherry rice and dill rice and they were all equally amazing. The persian rice was long and very tasty and had a bit more firmness then basmati. It was completely fluffy and the texture was great.

Do you know what the variety is and what brand I should look for for great persian rice at home?

How should I cook them? What give it the yellow color (I'm assuming it is saffron) to some grains and not others?

I am trying to recreate and I would appreciate any insights.

Soup

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