Mark Bittman's Stuck Pot Rice with Yogurt and Spices

Rice isn’t actually ‘ruined’ when it sticks to the bottom of the pot. Indeed, in a lot of places and across the Middle East, stuck-pot rice is encouraged for its sticky, crusty deliciousness.
— Mark Bittman

I made this rice last week. I served it with roasted sweet potatoes (with Yotam Ottelenghi's tahini dressing) and a green salad and it made for an inexpensive and delicious meal. This is a very simple recipe to make at home and produces rice with a texture and flavor that is not in my usual toolbox.

Mark Bittman's Stuck Pot Rice with Yogurt and Spices


  • Salt

  • 1 ½ cup basmati rice, well rinsed

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • ¼ cup peanut oil, or neutral oil like grape seed or corn oil

  • ¼ cup plain yogurt, preferably whole-milk

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

  • 1 tablespoon good curry powder.


Fill a medium pot with lightly salted water, and bring to boil. Stir in rice, return to boil and lower heat so water is at a lively simmer. Cook undisturbed 5 minutes; drain, and set aside. Rice will be only partly done. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together 2 tablespoons oil, the yogurt, lime juice and curry powder. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and whisk until smooth. Add rice, and toss gently to coat with yogurt mixture.

Put 2 remaining tablespoons oil in a large heavy-bottom pot with tight-fitting lid, and turn heat to medium-high. Add rice mixture, pressing it down in pan with fork. Wrap clean kitchen towel around lid of pot so it completely covers inside of lid; gather corners on top so they do not fall anywhere near stove. Place lid on pot, sealing tightly. Mixture will sizzle immediately.

When rice and spices are fragrant - in 3 to 5 minutes - turn heat down very low. Cook undisturbed about 30 minutes; rice should smell toasty but not burned. Remove from heat, and let sit 5 minutes more.

Carefully remove lid and cloth, and turn pot upside down over a platter. If rice comes out in a single crust, terrific. If not, use a spatula to scrape crisp pieces out of pan and onto remaining rice. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

recipesMichael Liss