Persian Style Cherry and Almond Rice
This fragrant rice has a golden, saffron-flavored crust at the bottom, called tah dig in the Persian language.
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups long-grain basmati rice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 teaspoon ground saffron, dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water, divided
1 cup frozen sweet cherries, thawed and drained well
2/3 cup slivered almonds, roasted
Bring 4 cups water and salt to a boil in a medium pot. Meanwhile, place rice in a colander and rinse well with warm water. Add rice to boiling water and boil briskly for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain rice in colander. In the pot, stir together 1 tablespoon oil, yogurt, 1/4 cup rice from the colander, and 1 tablespoon saffron water. Spread this mixture oven the bottom of the pot. Place 2 large scoops of rice into the pot, then 1/4 cup cherries. Repeat, alternating layers of rice and cherries in the shape of a pyramid; this shape helps the rice cook evenly and form a crispy bottom crust. Cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Pour a mixture of the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and 1/2 cup water over the pyramid. Pour remaining 1 tablespoon saffron water over pyramid. Place a clean dish towel or 2 paper towels over pot (this will help absorb moisture in the rice, keeping the grains separate); cover firmly with lid and cook 45 minutes longer over low heat. Remove pot from heat, and allow to cool on a damp surface for 5 minutes. (This will help loosen the golden crust at the bottom.) Gently scoop rice onto a serving platter, sprinkling with almonds and mounding into the shape of a pyramid. Use a spatula to remove crust from the bottom of the pot, and serve this on the side.
Calories 354; Fat 12 g; Sat Fat 1.0 g; Mono Fat 6.8 g; Poly Fat 3.0 g; Protein 7 g; Carb 55 g; Fiber 3 g; Cholesterol 1 mg; Sodium 398 mg; Calcium 69 mg; Potassium 215 mg; Vitamin E 4.0 mg*;