World Cuisine

Fragrant Persian Herbed Rice

prep 20 mins, plus soaking cook 30–35 mins
  • 425 g (14 oz) basmati rice
  • 50 g (2 oz) butter, plus extra to serve (optional)
  • 75 ml (3 fl oz) sunflower oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 2 cloves
  • 100 g (3½ oz) mixture of fresh dill, coriander and mint, roughly chopped
  • salt and pepper

Wash the rice well until the water runs clear. Put the rice in a bowl, cover with water and leave to soak for 2 hours. Wash again.

Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, then add the rice. Cook the rice for about 6 minutes until it begins to soften on the outside. Drain and rinse in lukewarm water.

Heat the butter and oil in a heavy saucepan until foaming, then add the spices and half of the rice. Cover the rice with half the herbs. Add the remaining rice then finish with the remaining herbs. Season each layer with salt and pepper.

Turn the heat down to low and make 3 steam holes in the rice with the handle of a wooden spoon. Wrap the lid of the saucepan in a clean tea towel and place it on the saucepan – the tea towel stops condensation from falling into the rice. Leave the rice to cook for 20—25 minutes.

Empty the rice into a bowl. Scrap off and break up the lovely crisp bits at the bottom of the saucepan and add them to the rice. Add additional butter, if liked. Serve immediately with a curry of your choice.

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