At the time of writing, the Iranian national football team currently takes the top spot as the best Asian team in the FIFA World Rankings. Up until the present, the country’s only win in a World Cup fixture happened in 1998 when they beat the United States 2-1. In June, they’ll travel to Russia and face Morocco, Spain and Portugal to try and turn their luck around.
Chelow kabab and tahdig—a Persian rice dish—are two of the nation’s favourite foods.
450g white basmati rice
2 tbsp salt
3 tbsp coconut oil
Pomegranate seeds or cranberries
1. Soak rice in cold water for 1 hour. Drain and rinse until water runs clear. In a large pot, mix 8 cups of water and 2 tbsp salt and bring to a boil. Add rice and bring to a boil again. Cook for 5-8 minutes. Drain and rinse rice and set aside.
2. Heat a heavy-bottomed pan over a low flame. Add coconut oil and 2 cups of cooked rice. Spread it evenly across the bottom and pack it down tightly. Sprinkle with salt.
3. Add rest of the rice and poke some holes into it using a chopstick to let steam escape. Cover the pot, turn the heat up to medium and cook for 10 minutes. Turn the heat as low as possible. Put a clean dish towel under the lid to catch the condensation, cover with the lid once more and cook for 50 minutes.
4. Scoop the steamed rice onto a serving platter. Loosen the sides of the tahdig at the bottom of the pan with a spatula, place on top of the pan and flip onto the serving plate. Serve with pomegranate seeds or cranberries.