Inspired by Samin Nosrat's delicious recipe, this dish is a low-calorie twist on the traditional Persian New Year specialty. Even once the incredible crust is over, the mix of hearty leeks, crunchy chickpeas, roasted nuts, and sweet sultanas is sure to keep you digging in for more!
Makes 4 servings
2 cups basmati rice
1 large russet potato
1/2 cup soaked brown (or regular) chickpeas
1/2 cup dry-roasted, chopped nuts (almonds, cashews, pistachio)
1 cup greek yogurt or whisked regular yogurt
2 tbsp sultana (golden) raisins
1 tsp turmeric
2 cups chopped leek
1 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup chopped basil
2 tbsp fresh oregano
5 threads of saffon
2 tsp ghee (or butter)
salt to taste
Rinse rice four to five times with cold water until the water runs clear. Soak them for at least 20 minutes.
In a 3-quart dutch oven, cast iron skillet, or 10" frypan with lid, melt 1 tsp ghee. Add chopped leeks and salt. Stirring often, let cook for 10 minutes.
Add chopped nuts and raisins. Stir for two minutes and remove from the heat.
Bring four quarts of water to boil. Add 4 tsp salt, 1 tsp turmeric, and rice. Cook for 5 minutes on high heat. Do not overcook!
Peel the potato and cut it in thin circles.
Rinse al dente rice under cold water (to stop them from overcooking).
Scoop out one cup of rice and gently toss it with the whisked yogurt.
Add leek and nut mixture to the rest of the rice. Add chopped cilantro, basil, and oregano. Mix well and add salt if needed. Add the saffron and mix well.
In the same pan used for the leeks, melt 1 tsp ghee. On medium heat, place the potato pieces to cover the bottom of the pan. Gently layer on the yogurt-rice mixture. Pat it down to the base and sides of the pan.
Layer on the other rice mixture into the center of the pan and slowly flatten to form a flat surface.
With the back of a wooden spoon, dig 5-6 holes symmetrically through the rice to the base of the pot. This will let steam escape from the bottom of the pan and form the bottom crust.
Put the stove on simmer. Cover the inside of the lid with a cloth napkin and place it on top of the pan. Let it simmer for 40 minutes.
When ready, take a deep breath and confidently flip the pan. Our hack? Place a large platter on top of the pan and tightly wind a napkin or potholder around the handle of the pan and the bottom of the plate. Then, in one swoop, flip the pan. Gently unwind the napkin et voilà!
Serve hot with a tomato-cucumber-onion-olive oil salad and enjoy!