Thursday, February 10, 2011

Day 30: Persian Spiced Rice with Crispy Potato Crust

Growing up I had to eat a lot of rice, and I admit I don't really care for it, much to the dismay of my mom who is Japanese.  I love potatoes -- maybe because of my German heritage (or at least that's what I tell my mom).  This dish is a wonderful combination of both, kind of like me!  Sorry, couldn't help myself.

Tonight Paul will be sampling Persian Spiced Rice with Crispy Potato Crust from The New Whole Grains Cookbook.  Unfortunately he'll have to do it without me --  I'll be at a chocolate tasting with Heather.

This is what it was supposed to look like. 

The recipe called for two things I don't have:  a 1 quart covered rounded glass baking dish, and saffron.  The smallest glass baking dish I have is square and has a 2 quart capacity so that's what I used.  I decided not to double the recipe (although I'm not sure that's what went wrong with the dish).  I'm too cheap to buy saffron, and I don't know what it tastes like.  I just add a bit of turmeric (just a shake of the jar, less than 1/4 tsp) to help give the dish a yellow tint.

It was easy-peasy putting the dish together.  I popped it into the oven, set the timer for 1/2 hour and waited.  After 30 minutes the crust didn't look browned, so I left it in for another 5 minutes.  I dutifully flipped it over onto a plate and, well you can see from the picture what happened.  The potato crust never browned, but the rice was pretty dry.  Honestly the onions were the best part of the dish -- sweet and spicy, a nice compliment to the rice.

Not quite the Ta-Dah moment I was hoping for.

Overall I think the dish was almost good.  Perhaps I should invest in a round glass baking dish before trying this recipe again.

Persian Spiced Rice with Crispy Potato Crust
The New Whole Grains Cookbook
Yield:  4 Servings

1 cup medium-grain brown rice, washed and rinsed
1/2 cup sour cream
1 large egg (optional)
1/4 tsp paprika
1 large pinch saffron, crumbled
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
2 new potatoes, or 1/2 small sweet potato, thinly sliced
1/2 cup thinly sliced onion

Preheat the oven to 400.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add the washed rice.  Boil the rice for 25 minutes, then drain.  In a large bowl, mix the sour cream, egg (if using), paprika, saffron, cumin, and salt.  Shake the rice in the strainer to release all the water, then mix the rice into the sour cream mixture.
     Drizzle the olive oil over the bottom of a rounded glass 1 quart baking dish with a lid.  Place the potatoes and the onion in a single layer in the oil, and up the sides a bit.  Put the dish in the oven for 5 minutes, then scatter the rice mixture over the potatoes, pressing it into the bottom of the dish.  Cover and bake for 30 minutes.  When the rice is cooked through and a brown crust is visible through the sides of the pan, use a knife or narrow spatula to loosen the edges.  Place a platter or plate over the baking dish and invert the two, so that the crusty part will be on top.  (Do this over a sink; some oil may drip.)  Serve immediately, when the crust is crisp.

Tomorrow Night:  Winter Squash Ravioli


  1. Well, I have to say that I am totally OK with square dishes... and I enjoyed the dish. I am going to have another serving!

  2. Unfortunately mine turned out like yours. Un-crusty potatoes that stuck to the bottom of the dish. Flavor was good but next time I'd leave out the egg. Might try again tomorrow.

    1. Glad I'm not the only one with sticky potatoes! Thanks for leaving a comment. I've been thinking about restarting my posts but have been busy as a contributor on

      Good luck on your next attempt at this dish. Would love to hear how it turns out!