Carrot Rice • Havij Polo • هویج پلو
Recipe by: Fae’s Twist & Tango (fae-magazine.com)
• 2 cups basmati rice
• 4 carrots
• 1 Tbsp caramelized onion
• 1 cup dried cranberries
• ½ tsp cinnamon -or- cumin (preference of your taste, either is optional)
• pinch (1/16 tsp) pepper
• smidgen (1/32 tsp) ground saffron diluted in 1 Tbsp hot water (optional)
• vegetable oil
• 1 large russet potato for tah-dig
To soak the rice
◊ Although today, clean fine rice is available, some imported rice brands may contain small, non-rice particles which must be scrutinized and removed by hand before washing. Also, some brands may need to be washed with extra agitation until water is clear. Put the rice in a large enough bowl with plenty of water and rub the rice between two hands to scrape off any powdery substance. Drain in a fine-meshed colander. Rinse the rice until clear water runs through.
◊ Put the washed rice in a bowl, add 1 Tbsp salt, cover with water level 3 cm/ 1″ above the rice, stir gently and set aside for more than an hour. This can be done in advance and soaked for 3+ hours. (Note: A faster step for cooking rice is… wash rice and soak without salt for 30 minutes. Add the salt to boiling water and follow the next steps.)
While soaking the rice, make the carrot mixture:
◊ Peel carrots and cut them small (see suggested cutting in the photos).
◊ Fill a medium-size pot half-way with water, add salt and on high heat, bring to boil (salt is to retain vibrant color of the vegetable). Add cut carrots and boil for 1~2 minutes or until semi-cooked. Drain the carrots and rinse with cold water to halt the cooking.
◊ In a medium size bowl, mix boiled carrots, cranberries, caramelized onion, cinnamon or cumin, 1/8 tsp salt, pepper and saffron water. Set aside.
◊ For potato tah-dig: peel the potato, cut it at least 15mm/ 5/8″ thick and soak in a bowl of tap-water and set aside.
To boil the rice
◊ Have a colander ready in your sink, one with fine-mesh or with very small holes, and with legs, so that it doesn’t touch the sink bottom.
◊ In a non-stick pot (9 cups capacity) bring 5 cups of water to a boil. Drain water from the soaked rice and add to the boiling water. Keep your attention on the pot or else the foam from the boiling rice may overflow.
◊ As the rice starts to boil briskly, lower the heat to medium-high and occasionally, gently stir the rice in a circular motion. At this point, taste the boiling water (carefully) to insure the salt content is to your taste. Add salt if needed.
◊ In a few minutes, after rice begins bubbling like a fountain, it boils slower/thicker. Test/bite a grain to check its hardness. Do this repeatedly, as timing is very important. As soon as there is no more hardness in the center of the rice (don’t let it get completely soft), drain rice in colander waiting in sink. It is better for rice to be a tad under-cooked than over-cooked. Rice should not sit in the colander more than a minute (it will continue cooking and be sticky soft). At this point, you must act quickly.
◊ Rinse the non-stick pot used for boiling. Add 4 Tbsp oil. Drain the cut potato and layer in the bottom of the potato.
◊ With spatula sprinkle ¼ of the boiled rice over the layered potato. Add 1/3 of carrot mixture, repeat this 2 more times and finish it with rest of the boiled rice on the top. Pour 2 ~3 Tbsp of vegetable oil all over the top of the rice.
◊ Put two layers of paper towel over the pot and put on the lid tightly. Steam the rice on medium-low heat for 45 minutes (no more).
◊ Dish out the rice sprinkling in a large serving dish. With a non-stick-pot-safe spatula, remove the potato tah-dig (let the oil drip well) and serve in a separate dish or on the side of the rice.
Note: For saffron rice garnish, in a medium bowl make another smidgen saffron diluted in 1 Tbsp hot water and 1 Tbsp butter. Add ¾ cup of the mixed rice, mix well and garnish the top of the dished-out rice and serve.
~ Noushe jan! • نوش جان ~
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