Persian Steamed Rice (Chelo) Recipe

From Dorothy McNett's Recipe Book.

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Persian Steamed Rice (Chelo)

From Dorothy McNett's Recipe Book at, compliments of Foods of the World, Middle Eastern Cooking. This is the traditional Iranian method of cooking long grain rice.

2 cups imported Iranian rice, or substitute other uncooked long grain rice
7 cups water
4 tablespoons melted butter

4-6 pats of soft butter
4-6 raw egg yolks
freshly ground black pepper
dried sumac (available at Middle Eastern markets)

If you are using Iranian rice, start at least 6 hours ahead. Spread it out on a clean surface and pick out and discard any dark or discolored grains. Then wash it in a fine sieve or colander set under warm running water until the draining water runs clear. Finally place the rice in a large bowl or pot, add 1/4 cup of salt and enough cold water to cover it by about 1 inch and soak overnight, or for at least 6 hours. If you are using other long grain rice, wash it in the same way, but soak it in the salt water for about 2 hours.

In a heavy 3-4 quart saucepan with tight fitting lid, bring 6 cups water to boil. Drain rice thoroughly and pour it into the boiling water in a slow, thin stream so the water does not stop boiling. Stir once or twice, then boil briskly, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Drain thoroughly in a sieve.

Pour 1 cup of fresh water and the melted butter into the saucepan and pour in the parboiled rice, mounding it slightly in the middle of the pan. Cover with the lid, simmer over moderate to low heat for 15-20 minutes, or until the grains are tender and have absorbed all the liquid in the pan.

Serve at once. Traditionally, when served with skewered broiled meat or chicken, the rice is served mounded into individual portions with a well in the center of each. A pat of butter is placed on top, a raw egg yolk is dropped in it, and the top is sprinkled with salt and a few grindings of pepper, and if desired, a little sumac.

Recipe created 2009-07-07.

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