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Stuck-pot rice with yogurt and spices

November 17, 2010

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Serves 4

Salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups basmati rice, well rinsed
4 tablespoons peanut oil
1/4 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon curry powder

1. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Stir in the rice and return to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes (it is only partly done). Drain the rice and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

2. In a bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons oil, yogurt, lime juice, curry powder, salt, and pepper until smooth. Add the rice and toss gently.

3. In a large heavy-based pot over medium-high heat, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add the rice mixture, pressing it down in the pot with a fork. Wrap a clean kitchen towel around the pot lid so it completely covers the inside of the lid; gather the corners on top so they do not fall anywhere near the heat. Place the lid on the pot. The mixture will sizzle immediately.

4. After 3 to 5 minutes, when the rice and spices are fragrant, turn the heat to very low. Cook undisturbed for about 30 minutes or until the rice smells toasty, but is not burned. Remove from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes.

5. Carefully remove the lid and cloth. Turn the pot upside down over a platter. Ideally, the rice will come out in a single crust. If not, use a spatula to scrape the crisp pieces out of the pot and onto the remaining rice. Season with salt and pepper.

Adapted from “The Essential New York Times Cookbook’’