Azerbaijani rice pilafs prepared with the “drain-and-steam” technique are called by their 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 atop a gazmag, or crust, that turns golden as it cooks, then brightened with aromatic saffron, dotted with butter, and steamed until it is tender, elongated, and fluffy. Note that when meat takes the place of the crust, the pilaf is called dosheme plov, or layered pilaf.
When the pilaf is served, the crust is placed decoratively on top of it. It is somewhat crunchy, yet tender, too. There are many ways to prepare the crust. It can be made with par-cooked rice, or from butter dough, from lavash, and even from sliced potatoes! 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.