Azerbaijani rice pilafs prepared with the “drain” and “steam” technique are called by the general name – suzme plov, which literally means “drained pilaf.” The name stems directly from how the rice is prepared. Thoroughly washed and presoaked rice is par-boiled in salted water, then drained and heaped in the form of a pyramid oftentimes atop of a gazmag, crust that turns golden as it cooks, then brightened with armatic saffron and dotted with butter, and steamed until it is tender, elongated and fluffy. (Note that when meat takes the place of crust the pilaf is called “dosheme plov”.)
When the pilaf is served, the crust is placed decoratively on top of it. It is somewhat crunchy yet tender too. Crust can be prepared from rice itself, from butter dough, from thin layers of flatbread and even from potato rounds! Here’s one variety – rice crust – which I think you will love! What you see in the picture is dilled rice pilaf accompanied with this particular type of crust.