Reshteh polo is a delicious Persian rice pilaf made with a very thin pasta (reshteh). In Iran, they actually use a roasted rice reshteh for this dish, but I prefer the taste of homemade roasted vermicelli. If you don’t have a Persian rice cooker, cook the rice kateh style and add the reshteh to the rice. If cooking your rice the polo style, add your reshteh before straining the rice.
Reshteh Polo (Rice Pilaf) in Rice Cooker
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 1 hour
Ready in: 1 hour 10 min
Yields: 6 servings
3 cups long grain basmati rice*
5 ¾ cups water
1½ teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons butter
For reshteh and raisins:
2 cups reshteh (Capellini Spezzati or angel hair pasta broken into pieces)
1 tablespoon oil
1½ cups raisins
1 tablespoon butter
* Measure the rice and water using a regular measuring cup. The measuring cup packaged with the rice cooker is smaller than the standard U.S. measuring cup.
Pour the rice into a bowl; cover with cold water. Swish the rice around gently with your hand; drain and repeat until the water is clear. Rinsing washes off loose starch, making the rice less sticky. Strain the rice thoroughly to get rid of the excess water.
Combine all the rice ingredients in the pot of the rice cooker. Use a Persian rice cooker which is designed to cook light and fluffy rice with tadig (crispy crust). If you don’t have one use a regular rice cooker.
Cover the pot, plug the rice cooker in. Turn the machine on and start the cooking cycle following the manufacturer’s timing.
While rice is cooking toast reshteh in a frying pan with 1 tablespoon oil over medium high heat for about 3 to 4 minutes or until the reshteh turns golden brown, keep stirring to prevent it from burning. Remove from heat and set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon butter and raisins in a small frying pan over medium heat for about 1 minute or until the butter melts. Remove from heat and set aside.
Half way through cooking, when rice starts to rise to the top of the water, stir in toasted reshteh and gently mix to combine. Add raisins, cover and cook until the cycle finishes. Optional: place a clean dishtowel or 2 layers of paper towel over the pot and cover firmly with the lid to absorb the steam.
To serve, gently spoon the rice mixture onto a serving platter lightly mixing the ingredients. The bottom of the rice develops a crisp crust that can be served on a separate plate.
Optional: Dissolve a pinch of saffron in 1 tablespoon hot water. Mix in 1 cup of cooked rice and use for garnish.