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My mom always did accuse me of gilding the lily. If one thing is very good and a second thing is very good, I figure that joining them together will make something very, very good. This recipe can be as simple as steamed rice, steamed rice with a potato crust, or if you are looking to gild the lily, add in the turkey and the greens for a more substantial dish that combines different Persian rice recipes.

Persian Steamed Rice with Green Herbs and Turkey

Persian Rice with Turkey and Green Herbs

  • 1 recipe Steamed Rice with Potato Crust (below)
  • 1 c each chopped Italian parsley, dill, coriander, stems removed
  • 1 c chopped watercress leaves
  • 1/3 c chopped chives
  • 1 1/2 lb minced turkey
  • 1 c chopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 T olive oil
  • sea salt

Mix all the greens in a large bowl. In a frying pan, heat olive oil on medium-high. Add onion and sauté on medium heat, stirring for about 3 minutes until softened. Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Add turkey, turn the heat up to medium-high, and cook for 4 minutes, stirring, until cooked through. Season with salt.

Persian Steamed Rice with Green Herbs and Turkey

Add the cooked turkey to the green herbs. Set aside.

Persian Steamed Rice with Crispy Potato

Parboiling the rice

  • 3 c long grained basmati rice, rinsed (or soaked in water for 1 hour, then drained)
  • 8 c water
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1 1/2 T sea salt

Steaming the rice 

  • 1/4-inch olive oil poured into the bottom of the saucepan (just enough to cover the bottom)
  • 4 small yellow-flesh potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick (Keep in water until ready to use.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric and 2 tablespoons water (or 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads ground, then steeped for several minutes in 2 tablespoons hot water)

Parboiling the rice
Fill a large, 5 quart, non-stick saucepan with 8 cups water; add 1/4 cup of oil and salt. Cover and bring to a brisk boil over high heat. Add the rice and continue cooking over medium-high, stirring occasionally. After 3 minutes, scoop some grains from the water. Break one grain in half to make sure it is “al dente”; it should have a tiny white dot in the center where it isn’t yet cooked through. Turn off the heat and pour rice into the colander to drain; set aside.

Steaming the rice
Using the same non-stick saucepan, just cover the bottom of the saucepan in olive oil. Add turmeric and water. Stir together. Add the potato slices in a flat layer on the bottom of the pan. Add the drained rice in layers with the green herb-turkey mixture in the shape of a pyramid. Poke down into the pyramid in a few spots, with the handle of a wooden spoon, to aid in the steaming process. Cover the pot and cook on medium-high for 7 minutes until rice begins to steam. Uncover and place 2 paper towels, one on top of the other, over the rice. The ends will extend a little outside the pot. Make sure that you aren’t creating a fire hazard. Cover tightly with the lid. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes. Turn off the heat and tilt the lid to let steam escape until ready to serve.

Turn the rice out on a flat serving platter by inverting the pot, as you would invert a cake onto a platter, or cut the crispy topping into pieces and serve around the rice.

Persian Steamed Rice with Potato Crust Print Ready Recipe

Persian Steamed Rice with Green Herbs and Turkey

Watch Reyna Simnegar in the video below making Persian Steamed Basmati Rice with Ta Dig.

Final notes:

  • This Persian Steamed Rice recipe was inspired by Barbara Segal, who sampled Reyna’s rice for real and raved about the experience.
  • Thank you to my friend, Shiva Rahmani, who encourages and guides me in Persian cuisine.
  • Thank you Barbara and Shiva. This recipe may be credited with improving my marriage. My husband likes rice, crispy potatoes and me, in that order. So variations of this Persian Steamed Rice may become a new staple around here.
  • My apologies – Computers don’t come with scent capacity, yet. If you could smell the wonderful aroma in my kitchen right now…

Persian Steamed Rice with Green Herbs and Turkey