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Persian Rice


Spiced yogurt rice (recipes follow)

5 medium egg yolks

¼ cup clarified butter

⅔ cup mixed baby lettuces

⅓ cup chard cut into ¼-inch strips

⅓ cup red cabbage, shredded

⅓ cup red onion, thinly sliced

4½ tablespoons tabbouleh vinaigrette (see Tabbouleh recipe)

1 teaspoons salt

6 tablespoons re-hydrated sour cherries

3 tablespoons toasted sunflower seeds

Note: You will need a 12-inch cast-iron skillet with a snug-fitting lid. If your cast-iron doesn’t have a lid, just use a lid from a pot that is the same size.

Spiced Yogurt Rice

1¾ cups plain yogurt

Saffron Rice (recipe follows), cooled

⅛ teaspoon baharat

⅛ teaspoon ground Persian lime

Saffron Rice

2¾ cups Basmati rice

2½ cups water

1 gram (about ¼ teaspoon) saffron

2 tablespoons kosher salt


[media size="medium" align="right" caption="Shaya serves friend Chris Robertson."] _DSC8950 [/media]
  1. Mix plain yogurt rice (recipe below) with yolks until rice mixture is evenly coated with yolk. Heat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Add clarified butter and completely coat inside of pan. Place rice/yolk mixture in bottom of pan then use large serving spoon to smash rice into cast-iron, gently, to form even crust on the bottom and sides of pan. Top with spiced yogurt rice (recipe below).
  2. Cover skillet and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 10 minutes, until crust is set and golden brown all over. Invert crispy rice onto a plate.
  3. Toss baby lettuces, chard, cabbage, and red onion with tabbouleh vinaigrette (recipe follows) and season with salt. Pile onto crispy rice and top with sour cherries and sunflower seeds.

Yogurt Rice and Spiced Yogurt Rice

Very gently fold yogurt into rice with wooden spoon, being careful not to break rice grains. Mix 1½ cups of rice/yogurt mixture with baharat and persian lime to make spiced rice. Set aside and keep rices separate.

Saffron Rice

  1. Place rice in a 1-gallon sauce pot. Place in sink and run cold water over rice until pot is filled. Strain carefully. Repeat until water runs clear when strained. Fill pot with cold water once again, then cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Mix water and saffron threads in plastic container. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9x13-inch casserole dish with parchment paper. Drain soaked rice and place in dish. Strain saffron water through fine mesh strainer and add to rice. Spread mixture evenly so that all rice is covered with water. Wrap tightly in 2 sheets of foil. Place in oven for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove and keep covered for 10 minutes at room temperature. Flip steamed rice onto a cookie sheet and fluff gently with fork to separate grains.
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