Chelou

  • Yield 4 servings

This Persian rice dish is unique because of the crunchy crust of potatoes that forms on the bottom of the pan.

Ingredients

2 cups basmati rice
Water
2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
White pepper to taste
Sumac, to taste*

Instructions

  1. Place rice in a colander and rinse under running water for about 1 minute until water runs clear. Place rice in a large bowl and cover with water. Soak at least 2 hours.
  2. Bring 3 1/2 cups water to a boil. Drain rice and place it in pot with 2 teaspoons salt. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain rice in a colander and rinse well with cold water.
  3. Heat a 5 1/2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil and arrange potato slices so they overlap to cover bottom of pot. Gently add rice, trying not to disturb layer of potatoes. Drizzle remaining oil over rice and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Cover pot with a clean kitchen towel or a few paper towels. Place lid on pot and reduce heat to very low. Simmer about 35 minutes until rice is fluffy and tender and a crispy crust forms on bottom of pan. Check rice after 30 minutes (remove the lid carefully as steam will escape as soon as you lift it). Spoon rice and some of crust onto each plate and season with sumac.
*Available in Middle Eastern, specialty food stores and off the Internet (www.kalustyans.com)
 

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