The first part of this recipe is for a rice cooker with a removable insert. To make this recipe without a rice cooker, skip to step 8.
The beautifully fragrant and earthy aroma of this dish is universally enjoyable. It reminds me of home, my mother’s cooking, and my grandmother's humble kitchen where we made this together once upon a time to celebrate the Persian New Year. It's a wonderful way to use fresh herbs from the garden in the spring/summer months, but also a hearty and comforting dish to serve with meats and fish—or on its own in the colder months. A feel-good, vegetarian dish which is quite satisfying. In the Hindi language, “bas” means “aroma” and “mati” means “full of.” If the starting point is “full of aroma” with just the rice, imagine what happens once you add the medley of gorgeous herbs and greens. You end up with heaven in a bite!
—Basil and Roses
- Prep time 15 minutes
- Cook time 1 hour
- Serves 4 to 6
uncooked basmati rice
large white onion, chopped
fresh dill, roughly chopped
fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
fresh chives, chopped
fresh mint, chopped
fresh basil, chopped
fresh rosemary, finely chopped (optional)
coriander seeds (optional)
- Fill a large pot with water (approximately 15 cups and bring to boil. Add turmeric and salt to boiling water. Don’t worry about adding too much salt, it will be drained later.
- Parboil rice for approximately 3-5 minutes until aldente (not fully cooked) and drain in a colander removing all liquid from pot. Liquid will be golden yellow from the turmeric so wear an apron!
- Add oil to bottom of the same pot you boiled the rice in. Add coriander seeds if using.
- Spread a handful of plain partially cooked white rice in the oil.
- Add and layer herbs followed by a layer of rice repeatedly, creating several layers of rice and herbs and forming a tall heap or a cone shape.
- Using the back of a wooden spoon, create 3 holes in the rice. This allows the rice to fry on the bottom creating the tahdig, while steaming the rest of the pot for light and fluffy steamed rice.
- Cover the lid with a layer of paper towels to capture condensation and steam over medium low heat for approximately one hour, or until the steam rises and the tahdig is golden.
- Once ready, serve the fragrant and beautiful rice pilaf with whatever protein you like.
- I served it on the side of this delicious Food52 recipe from last week for chicken and Cabbage in a sheet pan- it was fantastic!
- The kitchen will smell divine and your pallet will be pleased. Enjoy!
- Soak rice in cold water for 20-30 minutes.
- Rinse rice with water, gently agitating with fingertips. Do this multiple times (3-4) until water runs clear.