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Is there a mound of starch more glorious than Persian rice? Here, it's gloriously loose, freeflowing like sand in an hourglass, and always two-toned with a stripe of saffron in a sea of virgin white. Even the pan leavings, called tadig -- that burnt, crispy, brown crust that forms at the bottom of the rice pot -- is sold as a featured appetizer with your choice of dipping sauce. The rest becomes fodder for plates upon plates of char-burnished kebabs. With each fragrant grain, long and slender, you can taste the how the basmati is meticulously coddled and gently steamed to a wispy fluffiness with a touch of yogurt, salt and sugar.