|- 500g (l lb) Basmati long grain rice
- 7 tablespoons salt
- 100ml (3 fl oz) vegetable oil
- 4 teaspoons liquid saffron
- 60 g (2 oz) clarified unsalted butter
1. Pick over the rice, wash thoroughly in 5 or 6 changes of water, and leave to soak in salted water to cover by at least 21/2 cm (1 in) for 3 hours.
2. Bring about 2 litres (4 pints) of water with 3 tablespoons salt to a rapid boil in a 3 litre (6 pint) saucepan.
3. Pour off excess water from rice and pour into fast bubbling water. Bring back to the boil and boil for 2-3 minutes. After 2 minutes, test to see if rice is ready: the grains should be soft on the outside but still firm in the center. Strain and rinse with tepid water. Toss rice gently in colander.
4. Return the rinsed out saucepan to the heat and add oil and 2-3 tablespoons water. Heat till sizzling.
5. Sprinkle one layer of rice across the bottom. Then spread the rest of rice and building it up into a conical shape.
6. Poke two or three holes through the rice to the bottom with the handle of a wooden spoon. Wrap the saucepan lid in a clean teacloth and cover pan firmly.
7. Keep on high heat for 2-3 more minutes until rice is steaming, then reduce heat to low, for at least 30 minutes. The rice can be kept warm and fresh on the very lowest heat for a further hour or even longer.
8. Place saucepan on a cold wet surface and leave for a minute or two. while waiting, melt the butter and put aside for garnish. Lightly mix 2 or 3 tablespoons of rice with the liquid saffron in a small bowl, reserve for garnish.
9. To dish up, gently toss the rice and sprinkle lightly on to a warmed dish in a symmetrical mound. Garnish with the saffron rice, and pour the melted butter all over to give it a sheen.
10. Finally, remove the crusty bottom and serve on a separate plate.