This recipe is similar to Persian rice, with golden, crunchy crust that sticks to the bottom of the pot. However, Persian rice uses butter, while the Jewish Aleppian style substitutes oil to meet Jewish dietary restrictions.
1 tsp kosher salt
2 cups long-grain white rice, preferably basmati
1/4 cup vegetable oil
In a medium saucepan bring water and salt to a boil. Add rice and boil 10 minutes. Drain rice in colander and rinse in warm water.
In a 2 to 3 litre saucepan, heat the oil for about 30 seconds, and then add rice. Cover the pan with a kitchen towel, and then a heavy lid over that. Cook rice on a medium-low heat for 30 to 35 minutes until fluffy and a crust has formed at the bottom.
Dip the bottom of the saucepan in a large bowl of ice water for 30 seconds. Turn upside down on platter and golden rice crust will be on top.
The flavors of this stew develop as it simmers slowly in the oven. Vietnamese cooks often use caramel syrup to sweeten the dishes, but I find that oyster sauce just works as well. Any earthenware baking dish can be used here, but an oven-safe Dutch oven or heavy skillet will also work.
This is the Aleppian Jews sweet choice for passover. Freshly grated coconut meat is best to use here, but requires a little work; break open a coconut with a hammer, drain out the liquid and pry out the meat with a dinner knife. Peel off the thin brown skin with a sharp knife. Great the meat. If you use store-bought coconut, be sure it is unsweetened.