Persian Rice With Black-Eyed Peas and Dill 6.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Weeknight Vegetarian Dec 7, 2015

A hearty, aromatic side dish of crispy golden rice shards topping fluffy grains and tender legumes. In the Persian method, rice is mostly cooked by boiling, then finished in a pot, where it forms a crust.

Make Ahead: The rice needs to soak for at least 1 hour and as long as overnight before being cooked. The dish is best eaten fresh.

Where to Buy: Dried lime can be found in Middle Eastern markets such as Khartoum Grocery & Halal Meat in Adams Morgan (202-265-7100) and Yekta Supermarket in Rockville (301-984-0005).

6 - 8

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 6-8 servings

  • 2 cups jasmine rice
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil, plus more for coating the pot
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 pinch ground turmeric
  • 1 cup cooked or canned, no-salt-added black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 whole dried lime (optional; see headnote)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill


Place the rice in a bowl and cover with water by several inches; add 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Let the rice soak for at least 1 hour and up to overnight. Drain well.

Combine the 1/4 cup of water, 1 tablespoon of the oil, 1 tablespoon of the turmeric and 1 teaspoon of the salt in a small bowl; whisk to blend.

Fill a 3-quart or larger enameled or well-seasoned cast-iron pot about halfway with water and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, add the rice, and cook, boiling, until the rice is about three-quarters done: It should stick to your teeth when you bite a grain but shouldn't be crunchy. (Start checking after 1 minute, but it might take up to 10 minutes, depending on the age of the rice and how long you soaked it.)

Drain the rice in a large colander and cool it slightly by gently lifting scoops of rice with a spoon to turn and fluff the grains.

Dry the pot well, and coat the bottom and sides generously with oil. Set it over medium-high heat; once the oil just begins to emit a wisp of smoke, turn off the heat. Wipe out the pot with a paper towel and coat the bottom and sides with a thin film of fresh oil.

Sprinkle the bottom of the pot with the remaining pinch of ground turmeric and gently spoon one-third of the rice into the pot. Layer with 1/2 cup of the black-eyed peas, another third of the rice, the remaining 1/2 cup of black-eyed peas and the last third of the rice. Lightly press the rice with the back of a spoon to even it out and slightly compress the grains. Add the dried lime, if desired. Drizzle the reserved water-oil-turmeric mixture over the rice.

Drape the top of the pot with a clean cotton or linen kitchen towel, then put the lid on the pot (over the towel). Pull the corners of the towel up over the lid and tie, or secure with a rubber band.

Set the pot over very low heat; cook, covered, for 30 minutes without disturbing it. Uncover and test for the formation of a crust by inserting a knife through the layers to the bottom of the pot. If it doesn't feel crusty, replace the towel and lid and continue cooking over very low heat until a good crust forms. That can take up to another 1 1/2 hours, depending on the heat of your burner and how long you soaked the rice. Remove from the heat; let it rest, covered, for at least 20 minutes.

Uncover the rice and gently fold in the dill. (Discard the dried lime if you'd like.) Carefully unmold the rice onto a platter and serve. (If it doesn't unmold easily, simply scoop the rice into a serving bowl and scrape the crispy shards on top.)

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking," by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015).

Tested by Joe Yonan.

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