Persian Rice

The latest Jewish community to suffer from persecution is the one in Iran. Almost the entire Jewish community there has disappeared. Fortunately, most have survived, resettling all over the world. Many Iranian Jews have come to live in Los Angeles, and this recipe belongs to Hannah Fereydoun of Beverly Hills. Also called chello, it is unique.


serves 6 to 8
2 cups long-grain rice
6 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons oil


1. Soak the rice in water to cover overnight to remove excess starch. The next day, drain and transfer to a heavy-bottomed pot. Add 6 cups water and the salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover the pot and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Drain thoroughly.

2. Pour half the oil into the pot. Rub the oil round the sides of the pot, then add the partially cooked rice. Add the rest of the oil and remaining 1/2 cup water.

3. Lay a thin kitchen towel or 2 thicknesses of paper toweling over the rice and place the lid on top again, ensuring a firm seal. (Make sure the edges of the towel or paper are well away from the heating element or flame.) Cook the rice on low heat for 20 minutes. Do not lift the lid of the pot or check the rice during this time.

4. To serve, remove the lid and towel or paper, which should have absorbed excess moisture from the rice. Invert a plate over the pot, and turn the rice out onto it.

5. The rice that was in the bottom of the pan will be crisp and browned. Serve some browned rice to each diner; it is a delicacy.

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