Prep 10 mins
Cook 50 mins
This is a rice pilaf and the signature dish of Azerbaijan. It is normally the final savory course at special occasions, such as weddings, and is brought in with much ceremony. To make this, basmati rice is first parboiled, then steamed. The finished product is a lovely mix of yellow and white rices.
- 2 lbs basmati rice
- 1 pinch saffron
- 1 cup water, boiling
- 1 egg
- 1 -2 tablespoon yogurt (or 8 oz flour or 2 potatoes)
- Rinse the rice several times in cold water to remove excess starch.
- Place a few threads of saffron in a cup and add boiling water; cover and leave to infuse.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add rice, reduce heat, but cook rice at a rapid boil until the rice is tender on the outside, but still not done on the inside, 5 to 10 minutes (do not overcook or your plov will be sticky).
- Strain the rice in a colander.
- There are 3 methods you can use to form the crust or qazmaq. The first way is to mix together an egg with 4 tablespoons of the parboiled rice, and 1 or 2 tablespoons of yogurt. Add some of the infused saffron water. The second way is to mix together a glass (8 oz) of flour, a little butter, and a little water to make a sort of dough (you can also add an egg if you want an eggy flavor). This will then be kneaded and rolled out thinly. The third way is to use some potatoes that have been peeled and sliced crosswise.
- Rinse and dry the pan you cooked the rice in; melt a heaping tablespoon of butter, then spread whichever qazmaq you chose on the bottom of the pot and fry a little for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Next spoon half the parboiled rice on top, then pour over half of the saffron infusion.
- Spoon in remaining rice and pour over most of the remaining saffron infusion; top that with a few tablespoons of butter.
- Use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke a few holes through the rice to allow steam to escape.
- Cover pot opening with a clean tea towel and cover with a well-fitting lid; increase heat under pot until rice is steaming, then reduce heat and let steam for 35 to 40 minutes (it can go longer if needed).
- Spoon rice onto a serving platter and top with remaining saffron infusion and a few more tablespoons of butter.