More Recipes from the Feast

Azerbaijani Yellow Rice

As Zemfira Ahmadov, from Baku, Azerbaijan, taught Lindsay Sterling in Portland, ME, Feb. 25, 2012

Serves 10
Cooking time: active - 1/2 hr, total - 2 hours

3 c. basmati rice
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/3 c. ghee (a little less than a stick of butter)
1 Tbsp vegetable oil

Cover rice generously with water in a large bowl and massage rice to aid rinsing off white powder. Strain. Boil rice as you would pasta, for 8 minutes, and strain. It should be slightly uncooked and not yet fragrant or flavorful. Strain and let dry for 5-10 min. Melt ghee in microwave or stovetop. Oil the bottom of a large pot with tightly fitting lid, fit large tortilla in the bottom of the pot (so the rice doesn't stick). With a small bowl or dessert plate take some of the rice out of the strainer and sprinkle it into the tortilla. Repeat, making a mountain of fluffed rice in the tortilla with the mountain peak in the middle of the pot. Once you have a mountain of fluffed rice in the pot, sprinkle turmeric all over the top like the mountain is dusted with yellow snow. Pour melted ghee in a small stream over the surface area of the rice mountain with a small drizzle as possible. Cover the opening of the pot with two layers of paper towels or a clean cloth towel. Seal the lid over the towel, which keeps condensation from dripping back down into the rice. Fold edges of towel on top of lid so they don't dangle by any fire. Cook on low, setting 4 out of 10, for 1 1/2 hours. Use a small dessert or salad plate to lift the rice out of the pot and toss the rice lightly onto a platter. The goal is for the rice to be fluffed onto the platter. The rice has a wonderful scent, flavor, and texture - individualized and firm - not soft or mushy. Perfect with meat dishes such as her turmeric chicken and egg and beef with apricots.

Azerbaijani Cornish Hen and Egg

As Zemfira Ahmadov, from Baku Azerbaijan, taught Lindsay Sterling in Portland, Maine,
Feb. 25th, 2012

Serves 10 with many other dishes present, or 6 as main dish
Cooking Time: 1 hr

1 cornish hen
2 onions
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper
1/2 cup ghee
1/2 tsp salt
1 tomato
8 eggs
pinch citric acid (optional)

Remove any parts from the cavity of the cornish hen. Cut hen into bone-in pieces: wings, legs, breasts, thigh. Trim off any excess fat and the very wing tips and discard. Slice each breast piece across twice so you have three smaller pieces, about the size of a leg or wing. Place in a large soup pot on high with about 1/4 cup water.

Slice the onions into 1/4" thick moons, and add to pot with 1/2 cup ghee, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp turmeric, and 1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper. Lower heat to 8 out of 10, and cover with lid.

Let cook, stirring once in a while, until onions are almost disintegrated. turn down heat or add a little water if contents threaten to burn. Cut off tomato skin with paring knife, cut out and discard stem, dice flesh and add to pot. Let cook ten minutes more. Scramble the 8 eggs in separate dish. Stir in a pinch of citric acid if you wish (it's super sour, literally a pinch will do), and then pour eggs into the pot with the chicken. Stir and let cook just until egg solidifies. Spoon into serving dish and serve with platter of yellow rice. You may warn guests that there are bones in the cornish hen dish.

See how-to-photos for both of these recipes in "More Photos from the Feast."

Copyright Lindsay Sterling 2012