Persian Rice & Crust (Chelo Baa Tah-dig)
(serves 4 - 6)
Rinse:
2 c basmati rice
until the water runs clear.  Put it in a pot and add enough water to cover it by about one inch.  Add:
1/2 t salt
and cook over medium heat until the rice is al dente.
 
In another pot, heat:
3 T olive oil
and add the partially cooked rice.  Poke a few holes in the pile of rice, add another half cup of water, and set the heat to a low simmer.  Wrap the cover of the pot in a big towel and place it on the pot.  Cook until the water is absorbed and the rice is fluffy.  Scoop out the loose rice into one bowl, then scrape the crusty rice that has adhered to the pan into another bowl and serve them side by side. 
Notes & Variations:
  1. This recipe comes from Nazee Shams, who says that this is the centerpiece to any Persian meal.
  2. Be careful not to burn the towel, especially if you are cooking on a gas stove.  Attach it to the lid with rubberbands, if necessary.  The towel absorbs the extra moisture and makes the rice extra fluffy.
  3. You can stir 1/4 cup of plain yogurt into the heated oil before adding the rice, for extra crunchiness.