Our friend Fahim, from Afghanistan, likes rice more than any other food. He taught us how to make it when he was 15 years old, and we have had it many times over the years. Fahim says sweet potato, beans, meat or other ingredients can be substituted for the white potato. The choice of rice is important. American rice is generally not the right texture or taste for this recipe. Fahim’s favorite rice can be found at the Indian market, in a cloth bag with a picture of a running antelope.
3 cups imported long-grain basmati rice
1 large potato, peeled and diced, or use sweet potato or combination
About 3 T. vegetable oil
1 T. salt
Seasoning of your choice (such as saffron, paprika, turmeric, or Slap your Mamma)
Fill a large bowl with lukewarm water. Clean the rice by rubbing it between your fingers in the water. Pour off excess water; repeat twice and allow rice to soak in the remaining water for 5-10 minutes.
Heat a large saucepan over medium setting. Add the oil; after it is hot, add the potatoes. Cook a few minutes, until potatoes begin to brown a bit, then slowly add 1/2 cup water. Add about 3 1/2 cups water, 1 T. salt, then the rice. Add additional seasonings of your choice. Cook over low-medium heat about 20 minutes, until the water has evaporated and the rice is tender. Cover and hold up to 30 minutes before serving. 4-8 portions, depending on what else is served.