How to make a perfect pilaf

Here are the basic steps to making a perfect pilaf:

Rinse the rice well under running water to remove excess starch.

Soak the rice in salted water for at least 1 hour to shorten the cooking time.

Cook the rice like pasta, in plenty of boiling salted water, until it is almost done.

Spoon the rice into a pan with whatever flavorings you want, mounding it slightly. This gives the grains room to expand.

Sprinkle over more water, and fat if you wish, cover tightly and cook over the lowest possible heat for at least 35 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat, take off the lid, cover the pan with a tea towel, put the lid back on tightly and let it stand for 10 minutes before serving to let the rice firm and to reduce the moisture.

—Russ Parsons

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