3 cups basmati rice (1¼ lbs)3 Tbsp. salt ½ tsp. saffron threads, crumbled ½ cup plain yogurt 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter 2/3 cup fresh dill, chopped
In large bowl, rinse rice in several changes of cold water until water runs clear. Drain well. In pot over moderately high heat, combine 4 qts cold water, rice, & salt. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to moderate and boil, uncovered, 5 minutes. Drain well. In sm. bowl, stir together ¼ cup warm water & saffron until dissolved. Transfer 1 cup cooked rice to medium bowl & stir in yogurt and 1 Tbsp. saffron water (reserve remaining saffron water). In cleaned pot over moderately low heat, melt butter. Add rice–yogurt mixture, smoothing into flat layer. Top with ½ of remaining rice. Sprinkle with ½ of dill & top with ½ of remaining rice, mounding loosely. Sprinkle with remaining dill & top with remaining rice, mounding loosely into pyramid. Using round handle of wooden spoon, make 5 or 6 holes in rice to bottom of pot & pour in remaining saffron water. Wrap a clean kitchen towel over the lid (so the open ends of the towel come together near the handle). Place lid over the pot and steam, undisturbed, until tender and crust forms on bottom, 20-30 minutes. Spoon loose rice onto platter without disturbing bottom crust. Dip bottom of pan into large bowl of cold water 30 seconds to loosen crust. Using spatula or wooden spoon, lift crust and transfer atop rice.
adapted from Epicurious, April 2009. originally by Chef Lynne Gigliotti, The Culinary Institute of America