Polow: the most basic and important part of Persian cuisine is white long grain rice. The rice is sprinkled with saffron, a very expensive but incomparable spice, and when preparing it, the bottom layer turns out crunchy and is everyone's favorite part of the rice called Tah-dig. Many variations exist to the tah-dig which can either be plain rice, contain potatoes, or other home made inventions. This rice is often served with kebabs or stews and makes for a perfect companion to many dishes. Check out the "Persian" or "Stew" sections of this website for things to pair your rice with.
2 cups Basmati Rice
½ tbsp Saffron in 2tbsp water
Salt1-2 Potatoes (optional)
1. Wash rice with cool water a few times, soak in 4 cups of water, add 2-3 tablespoons salt and set aside for couple of hours (this step can be skipped).
2. In a large non-stick pot that has a tight fitting lid, bring 4 cups of water to a rapid boil. Add the rice and boil for about 10 minutes, until rice is firm in the center and soft on the outside.
3. Strain and rinse with cool water.
4. Wash the pot and return to heat, add 2-3 tablespoons oil and a bit of water. Make sure entire bottom of pot is covered, if not, add some more. Add a couple of drops of saffron, any other spices you might like in the tah-dig, and if using potatoes, places several slices on bottom of pot.
5. With a large spatula place the rice into the non-stick pot, building it into a pyramid shape. In order to release the steam make 2-3 holes in the rice with the bottom of the spatula.
6. Place small glass recipient with saffron and water mix in the top of the rice, stabilize it so it will steam along with the rice and you will get maximal flavor from the saffron.
7. Cover the lid with a kitchen towel, cover the pot, and cook for 10 minutes on medium-high heat until rice is steaming. Kitchen towel is essential as it helps trap the steam if you are not using a rice cooker.
8. When the steam starts to come out lower heat and steam the rice for another 40 min - 1 hr.
9. Serve rice on a platter; sprinkle the saffron on top.10. Turn pot over to remove the crusty bottom (tah-dig) and serve on a separate plate as seen in picture.