My favourite way of making rice at home, Théhir. It is so simple to make yet full of flavour and aroma. For me, it brings so many beautiful memories back whenever I make this for my family & friends.
Théhir, in Kashmir, used to be and still is traditionally, made on a larger scale at home, early in the morning. It is then handed out in small containers to those passing by the house; as an exchange of thanks and goodwill for their blessings. Back in the good old days before disposable containers were invented, a big spoonful of Théhir would be handed directly into people’s hands or they would carry it home in their pheran (a traditional long closed over coat) as a make shift container. Some families also choose to send Théhir to their local mosque to then be given out to those coming to worship there.
Nowadays, Théhir is something I love to make at home on any occasion because it makes dinner just that little bit special. A big part of Kashmir and its essence, has been based on our heritage of Sufism from those great Sufi saints who travelled from Iran. Hence, the expression and feeling of gratitude towards God and each other is one thing I have been able to take back from these small gestures in Kashmir. Giving thanks in different ways and making someone feel a little bit extra special goes a long way in passing along small acts of kindness. So these days when I do make Théhir, I like to share it with a friend and drop it off to their house. I know they will enjoy it and it is something that will definitely brighten up their day! Living in London has made me realise that these traditions should never be left to fizzle away; bring it to the place you call home and keep that little part of Kashmir alight.
So this is how I have been taught to make mine by my Mum and I thought I would share it with you too.
Serves 3-4 people
2 cups Egyptian rice (This is the closest I’ve found which is very similar to our traditional starchy, flavoursome, small grain Kashmiri rice. If you like, you can swap this for long grain Basmati rice which is less starchy)
3 cups cold water
1 tsp turmeric powder
1.5 tsp pink himalayan salt
3 tbls vegetable oil
1 finely sliced shallot
1. Place the rice in a medium size pan. Wash and rinse the rice out a couple of times, making sure to get rid of any debris. Drain the water so that only the rice is left.
2. Add your measured 3 cups of water to the rice. Then add the salt and turmeric powder and stir it with a spoon so that everything is mixed well together.
3. Place the pan on the hob, on high heat and wait for it to start boiling.
4. As soon as it starts to boil, take it down to a simmer and place the lid on the pan for 20 minutes to cook and then switch the heat off.
5. Once your rice is cooked, get a small fry pan out and add the oil to the pan and place it on high heat.
6. Add the shallots and keep stirring until these turn a lovely deep golden brown colour. Turn the heat off and pour the shallots with the oil onto the cooked rice. You should hear a lovely sizzle when you do this and the aroma of Théhir really comes through at this stage!
7. Stir in the shallot mixture with a spoon so that the oil coats all the rice.