Basmati Rice with Tahdig Recipe

Rice is not just a simple side dish in our homes, it forever has a place on all of our tables. Something as simple as basmati rice actually involves practice and an understanding of the grain.  Housewives spend years perfecting the art of rice cookery, my goal is to help you master it in no time.

There are two main styles of cooking rice, one in which involves blanching the rice (Khamovi; kha-mo-vee), then steaming it (Damovi; da-mo-vee). The other involves cooking it with an exact amount of liquid, allowing each individual grain plump up.
Most families can will agree that the tahdig is the best part of the meal. It can vary in its form, some use a thin, pita-like bread and some use potatoes. You can omit the bread or potato, and allow the rice to form its own crust.
We will begin with the blanching method.
Tools You Will Need:
7qt. Stock Pot with lid (none-stick or stainless)
3 cups basmati rice (amount of rice will vary depending on number of diners)
5 qt. water
4 Tbs. of Kosher salt
1/4 cup of vegetable or canola oil
3 Tbs. of unsalted butter (cut in small cubes)
Pita bread; enough to cover bottom of your pot (Optional)
Bring water to a boil and add Kosher salt. Add rice once the water is back to a strong boil. Blanching time may vary slightly, we are looking to achieve an al dente grain, it should take approximately 5-7 minutes.  Drain the rice and run cold water once over the colander.  Pour half of the oil onto the rice, stir ever so gently.  Place stock pot over medium heat and add remaining oil. If you choose to use Pita, place enough of it to cover the bottom of the pot, allow to heat for 2 minutes.  Gently, place drained rice back into the stock pot, do your best to form a pyramid-like shape, peaking the rice in the center of the pot.  Place cubed butter over the rice and drizzle with 2 Tbs. of cold water. Place kitchen towels over the pot and cover with lid. Make sure that your heat is turned down to low.  Allow rice to steam for 40-50 minutes, once you are ready to serve, you can raise the heat for 2-3 minutes to brown the pita on the bottom.
Chef’s Tips:
1. Rinse your rice under running water until the water runs clear, this extra step will remove some of the excess starch and any other undesirables.
2.Your blanching water should taste like seawater, this is your only chance to properly season each grain of rice.
3.Tuck the edges of the kitchen towel back into the lid of the pot, to ensure a fire-free experience :)
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  2. Cherryl Giardina

    Scientists at Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Delhi, genetically modified basmati to produce a hybrid semi-dwarf plant which had most of the good features of traditional basmati.-`.*

    Take a look at our new blog site too

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