Rice With Fresh Herbs

While this dish is somewhat time-consuming, the end result is fragrant, fluffy rice with a surprise buttery, crunchy bottom--which is the best part. We don't recommend substituting dry herbs for fresh in this recipe.


Makes 6 servings

Recipe from

Southern Living

Recipe Time

Prep: 25 Minutes
Soak: 2 Hours
Cook: 1 Hour, 10 Minutes
Cool: 5 Minutes


3 cups uncooked basmati rice
8 cups water
2 tablespoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground saffron
4 tablespoons hot water, divided
4 green onions, chopped
1 cup chopped fresh dill (about 3 [1-ounce] packages)
1 cup chopped fresh parsley (2 bunches)
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro (2 bunches)
2/3 cup butter, melted
3 unpeeled garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Place rice in a large colander, and rinse until water runs clear. Combine rice, 8 cups water, and salt, and soak 2 hours. Drain, pouring salted water into a large nonstick Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, and add rice. Return to a boil, and cook 6 minutes, gently stirring twice to keep rice from sticking to bottom of Dutch oven. Drain rice; rinse with warm water.

Dissolve saffron in 2 tablespoons hot water. Set aside.

Combine green onions and next 3 ingredients in a bowl.

Add half of melted butter to nonstick Dutch oven. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon saffron mixture. Spoon about 1 cup rice over butter; top with about 1/2 cup green onion mixture, and top with garlic cloves. Repeat layers with remaining rice and green onion mixture, forming a cone shape. Sprinkle with cinnamon, and drizzle with remaining half of butter, remaining 1 tablespoon saffron mixture, and remaining 2 tablespoons hot water.

Place a clean cotton dish towel over Dutch oven (make sure it doesn't touch the burner), and cover firmly with lid to prevent steam from escaping. Cook over medium heat 10 minutes; reduce heat to low, and cook 50 minutes. Remove from heat, and cool 5 minutes.

Scoop rice, using a spatula, onto the center of an oval serving platter, leaving the crisp bottom intact. Gently lift crisp bottom layer with spatula, and serve on a separate plate, or crumble over rice on serving platter.

Quick-Cook Rice With Fresh Herbs: Rinse and soak rice as directed. Boil rice in salted water 12 minutes. Layer rice and herbs in cone shape in Dutch oven as directed. Cover with a cotton dish towel and lid. Cook over high heat 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low, and cook 12 minutes. Remove from heat, and proceed as directed. (The bottom will not be as crusty as it is using the original method.)

March 2005
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