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Rice, Sour Cherries (P, TNT)
Source: "Taste of Persia," by Najmieh Batmanglij, with a few changes to match the way my Mom cooks it/i>
Serves: 10

1kg (about 2 pounds) basmati rice
2 tsp. salt plus 1 pinch
1/2 cup warm water
4-5 tbsp. oil or melted margarine plus some for crust
1 kg (2 pounds) sour cherries (vishne)
few tgreads of saffron (no turmeric!), dissolved in a small amount of boiling water

Pit the cherries, they are rare and on sale for a very short period in Israel (end of June), priced about 18 NIS/Kg, save the juice separately in a container (can be frozen).

Clean rice and wash 5 times in warm water, soak with a teaspoon of salt (overnight) In a very big pot, bring water to boil with 2 teaspoons of salt, add the washed and drained rice. Boil the rice for 8-10 minutes, stirring gently to loosen any grain stuck on the bottom of the pan. At this stage, drain the soft rice and stop the cooking process by rinsing under running water.

Line a non-stick cooking pot with rice mixed with saffron water. Some people line the pot with lavosh bread to avoid crust from burning. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and some melted margarine or oil (for the crust).

Then layers of rice, in a pyramid shape (allows the rice to expand in the dish), alternating with cherries (no juice). Cover and cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Uncover and add 1/2 cup warmed water mixed with 2-3 tablespoons of oil or melted margarine, pour over the rice.

Cover very tightly, placing a cotton dish towel under the lid to prevent steam to escape. Cook on a very low heat for 35-40 minutes. Uncover and pour the heated juice with 2 tablespoons of oil over the rice, cover and continue cooking on very low setting for 10 minutes. When ready, uncover the rice, unmold it like a cake on the serving plate or spoon on a serving dish, decorate with silvered blanched almonds and pistachios. Serve the crust separately.

Posted by Viviane Barzel

Nutritional Info Per Serving: N/A