Green Persian Rice with Tahdig
- 2 C basmati rice
- 5 C packed fresh soft herbs and tender stems (use as many kinds as possible, such as a combination of fresh dill, cilantro, parsley, fennel fronds, tarragon, mint, basil, chervil, and chives)
- 5 TBSP unsalted butter: 1 tablespoon softened, 4 tablespoons melted
- 1 TBSP dried dill
- 1½ TSP kosher salt, plus more as needed
- ⅛ TSP saffron threads
- extra-virgin olive oil
- Filled with herbs and seasoned with aromatic saffron butter, this green and orange–flecked rice dish is magnificent, made even more so by its crunchy, buttery, golden bottom crust called a tahdig. Creating the tahdig, which requires a stint on the sauté setting after the rice and herbs are cooked under pressure, takes some practice and finessing, so don’t be upset if it doesn’t work out perfectly the first time. There’s an art to knowing when to take the pot off the heat. If some of the crust sticks to the pot, just scrape it out and lay it on top of the rice for serving. Then make sure everyone gets at least a small piece of it to savor. Those of you with nonstick pots in your pressure cookers will have a much easier time unmolding this. But stainless steel pot owners, fear not; if you’re nervous, err on the side of undercooking the tahdig. Better lightly golden than burnt. In any case, with all the saffron and herbs, it will still be delicious. And when you do eventually turn out a perfect version, be prepared for the oohs and aahs. They will be copious. This is a dish worth mastering.
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