Step by step guide with pictures
Persian rice is considered an art form. Even though the recipe is well-known in most Persian households, each Maman (or Baba!) has her or his own unique way of making the perfect batch.
Here’s my Maman’s full-proof Persian rice and tahdig recipe, guaranteed to melt in your mouth and please both your Persian and non-Persian dinner guests.
Persian rice and tahdig
Serves 4-6 people
3 cups long grain basmati rice
2tbs olive oil
1/2tsp saffron, finely ground*
For potato tahdig: 1 large potato, scalloped (1-2cm thick)
Place ground saffron in a small bowl, add 3tbs hot water, then place aside.
In a large bowl wash the rice, changing the water twice. Add 1tbs salt, cover with water and soak for half an hour. In a large non-stick saucepan bring 2 litres water and 1tbs salt to the boil. Drain the rice and add to boiling water over high heat.
Boil for 5 minutes until tender on the outside and firm in the middle; don’t overcook the rice.
Drain and rinse rice with cold water.
For rice tahdig: Heat 1tbs oil in the same pot and scoop in two large wooden spoonfuls of rice to the pot, spreading evenly across the bottom. This is how you will make the rice tahdig — a buttery, crunchy golden crust — as the rest of the rice steams above.
For potato tahdig: On medium heat add 1tbs oil in saucepan, and arrange the potato slices along the base.
Spoon the remaining rice on top of the base layer and using a spatula, shape the rice into a mound or small hill.
This helps the steam to build up and keeps the rice from sticking to the sides of the pot.
Using the end of the spatula, poke a few holes through the rice mound. Pour the remaining 1tbs oil over the rice.
To build steam, wrap the lid in a tea towel (wrap the underside of the lid) before covering the rice. Leave on medium heat for 2-5 minutes then reduce heat to very low. Cook for 40 minutes.
Once ready, scoop the rice onto a large serving platter. Set aside 1 scoop of rice and add this to a bowl with the diluted saffron water, and mix together. Pour this saffron rice mixture over the rice platter. Scrape the crusted rice or potato tahdig from the bottom of the pot and serve alongside the meal on a large plate.
*To grind saffron, place 1 pinch of saffron threads and 1 pinch of sugar in a mortar and
grind until it turns to powder.
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