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2 cups rice
1/2 cup barberries (zereshk)
1teaspoon crushed saffron, dissolved in 3-4 tablespoons of hot water
1- 2 tablespoons sugar
Butter or vegetable oil
Pick over dried barberries (zereshk), wash and rinse a few times, soak in cool water for half an hour. Drain.
Place 2 tablespoon of butter in a small saucepan, add zereshk to the pan, heat it up on a medium-low heat for five minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of liquid saffron and 1-2 tablespoons of sugar to balance the sour taste of zereshk (if you prefer a more sweet taste, add more sugar to the mixture). Mix thoroughly. Set aside. I usually sprinkle very little sugar to this dish. I like the sour taste of zereshk polow.
Wash rice with cool water a few times. Soak in 4 cups of water, add 2 tablespoons of salt and set aside for at least a couple of hours.
In a large non-stick pot that has a tight fitting lid, bring 4 cups of water to a rapid boil on medium-high heat. Drain the washed and soaked rice and pour into boiling water. Bring water back to a boil for about 10 minutes. Test to see if the rice is ready. Rice should be firm in the center and soft on the outside. Drain the rice in a mesh colander and rinse with cool water a few times.
Wash the pot and return to heat, add 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil or butter and a tablespoon of saffron. With a large spatula place the rice into the non-stick pot, building it into a pyramid shape.
In order to release the steam make 2-3 holes in the rice with the bottom of the spatula. Cook for 10 minutes on medium-high heat until rice is steaming, when the steam starts to come out, pour a cup of water over the rice, cover, lower heat and steam the rice for another 50 minutes.
With a large scoop take some rice mix in with the remaining saffron and set aside.
Serve rice on a platter, sprinkle the mixture of rice and saffron on top.
Gently remove the crusty bottom (tah-dig) and serve in a separate plate.
Recipe and photo by: Azita