If your home is like most gluten-free homes, then rice is probably a staple. It is in ours. I am always looking for new ways to make rice so that we don't get bored with it. I stumbled upon Persian rice and was intrigued. So I made it. I am really glad I did. The browned, crusty layer of rice that forms at the bottom of the pan is considered the most treasured part of this Middle Eastern classic. It is simple to make and very tasty.
adapted from Jean Touitou
2 cups basmati rice
3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
Pinch of saffron threads
2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt (I used greek)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Place rice in a medium saucepan; add 2 tsp. salt and cold water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over medium heat; reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain rice, reserving 3/4 cup cooking liquid.
Place saffron and 1/2 cup reserved cooking liquid in a small bowl; let saffron soften for 5 minutes.
Place yogurt in a medium bowl and stir in remaining 1 tsp. salt and saffron water. Add rice and stir to coat.
Melt butter in a large deep nonstick skillet over medium heat; swirl to coat bottom and sides of pan. Add rice mixture and stir to coat.
Cover with a lid. Cook for 10 minutes (do not stir). Reduce heat to low; cook, adding more reserved cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls if rice has not finished cooking when water evaporates, until a golden brown crust forms on bottom of rice, 20–25 minutes.
Remove lid and serve.