Persian Rice (Chelow)

"A common persian dish its highlight is the golden crust on the bottom of the rice."
photo by a user photo by a user
Ready In:
1hr 10mins




  • Rinse the rice thoroughly in water.
  • Bring 2 quarts of water with 2 tablespoons of salt to a boil. Pour drained rice into boiling water and add either the liquid at the top of yogurt or a spoonful of yogurt.
  • After boiling for 3 minutes test the rice. you want it to still be firm in the center. If it is not quite ready give it a few more minutes but do not stir the rice.
  • When ready strain rice completely and rinse with lukewarm water. Make sure rice is completely strained and grains are not packed too tightly.
  • Start a saucepan over medium heat with 1/3 cup of vegetable oil or butter.
  • To make the crust mix 1 egg with a teaspoon of yogurt, saffron or turmeric, and some salt in a small bowl.
  • Add about 1 cup of rice to the mixture and coat.
  • When oil is hot, put egg-coated rice down first, covering the bottom of the pan.
  • Then sprinkle remaining rice into the pan using a large slotted spoon. It is important to sprinkle the rice, rather than dump all at once, so it stays fluffy and doesn’t get compressed.
  • Poke three holes into the rice by using the bottom of the spoon handle. This releases steam.
  • Wrap the lid in a clean kitchen towel and put firmly over saucepan. The towel absorbs the steam, preventing moisture from dripping back into the rice and making it soggy.
  • The covered pan should stay on high heat for a few minutes until it is steaming. You can tell if it’s steaming without taking off the lid by flicking water drops on the outside of the saucepan. If it sizzles and evaporates immediately, the rice is probably steaming, and you can turn it down to medium-low.
  • Cook for 30 minutes at this setting, or even lower for an hour, depending on the timing of the rest of your meal.
  • When ready to serve, replace lid with a large plate. Flip the pan so rice transfers to the plate crust side up.

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