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Persian Steamed Rice (Chelo)


Adapted from Dorothy McNett’s Recipe Book at This is the traditional Iranian method of cooking long grain rice.

Persian Steamed Rice (Chelo)
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  1. 2 cups imported Basmati rice, or substitute other uncooked long grain rice
  2. salt
  3. 7 cups water
  4. 4 tablespoons melted butter freshly ground black pepper and dried sumac (if available)
  1. Wash rice in a fine sieve or colander set under warm running water until the draining water runs clear. Place the rice in a large bowl or pot, add 1/4 cup of salt and enough cold water to cover it by about 1 inch and soak for about 2 hours.
  2. In a heavy 3-4 quart saucepan with tight fitting lid, bring 6 cups water to boil. Drain rice thoroughly and pour it into the boiling water in a slow, thin stream so the water does not stop boiling. Stir once or twice, then boil briskly, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Drain thoroughly in a sieve.
  3. Pour 1 cup of fresh water and the melted butter into the saucepan and pour in the parboiled rice, mounding it slightly in the middle of the pan. Cover with the lid, simmer over moderate to low heat for 15-20 minutes, or until the grains are tender and have absorbed all the liquid in the pan.


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Patricia Rain
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Patricia Rain

is an author, educator, culinary historian, and owner of The Vanilla Company (, a socially conscious, product-driven information and education site dedicated to the promotion of pure, natural vanilla, and the support of vanilla farmers worldwide. She also does culinary presentations for food professionals, cooking schools, trade shows, food fairs, and private groups, and is a regular radio and TV guest.
Patricia Rain
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