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Crispy Saffron Rice

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 30 min (includes soaking time)
  • Active: 20 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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Ingredients

3 cups basmati rice

Kosher salt 

1/8 teaspoon saffron 

3 tablespoon ghee or clarified butter 

Directions

Special equipment:
a mortar and pestle
  1. Put the rice in a large bowl, then cover with enough water so that it comes up a couple inches above the rice. Soak for 30 minutes. Drain the rice, then rinse it well.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons salt.
  3. Crush the saffron using a mortar and pestle, then add 3 tablespoons boiling water from the pot and allow to steep and break down. 
  4. Add the rice to the boiling water and cook until it's soft on the outside but still has a bite on the inside, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cool water to stop the cooking. 
  5. Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet with a lid over medium-high heat and add the ghee and the saffron water; swirl it around so it coats the pan evenly. Add the rice and pack it down firmly with the back of a spatula, mounding it slightly higher in the center. Use the handle of the spatula to poke a few holes in the rice, stopping right before you get to the very bottom of the rice (this allows the steam to escape). Carefully cover the skillet with a clean dish towel and then the lid, folding the corners of the towel up around the lid so they don't touch the stove (if you're working with a gas range, you may want to fold the towel up around the lid before putting it on the skillet to be extra careful that your towel doesn't touch the flame). Cook on medium-high for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium-low until the bottom is golden brown, about 7 minutes more. Carefully uncover the skillet, keeping the cover level so that any moisture collected under the towel doesn't spill out and burn you or fall back into the rice.
  6. Flip the rice out onto a plate so that the crispy bottom becomes the top. Serve!