Serves 8 - 10
4 C bastmati rice
1 tsp salt
2 Tb evoo, plus more
4 Tb butter
1/4 C water
1/4 C saffron water (4 tsp saffron, 1 tsp sugar ground in mortar/pestle, then add to 1/2 C hot water to dissolve)
Place rice in a bowl and add enough water to cover, rinsing well. Pour off water and rinse like this twice more. Add salt and enough water to cover. Let stand for 10-15 minutes.
Bring a stockpot of water to boil. Drain rice and add to boiling water. Drizzle with evoo. Boil until rice is tender, about 10 minutes. Drain in a colander.
Return pot to medium heat, add butter, 2 Tb water, 2 tsp saffron water. Allow butter to melt.
Mound rice into pot. Drizzle with 2 Tb evoo, remaining 2 Tb water and 2 Tb saffron water. Cover top of pot with a thick kitchen towel and place lid on top. Cook 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low, and continue cooking 20 minutes more. Serve immediately.
(And I'm pretty sure the cook gets dibs on the tahdig - the crusty, buttery, saffrony layer from the bottom of the pan!)