Persian Rice with a Sinful Crust Prepared with a Persian Rice Cooker
Tahdig is the pan-fried crust layer that sits at the bottom of the rice pot and is an incredibly popular Persian dish. It’s usually served with potatoes, onions, bread, matzah, or even sweet potatoes. Tahdig literal translation is “bottom of the pot” in Persian. The crunchiest Tahdig comes from using a Persian rice cooker (try the Pars rice cooker) because they are specifically designed to create the crunchiest crust. Most like to add a pinch of ground saffron dissolved in 2 tablespoons of hot water. Other’s might mix yogurt in the rice for a thick, pasty texture. Prepare this delicious Persian dish at home for your friends. Here is an easy to follow recipe to try at home with your Persian rice cooker:
• 3 cups long-grain, basmati rice
• 4.5 cups of water
• 2 Tablespoons and 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon ground saffron dissolved in 2 tablespoons of hot water
• 1/3 cup butter
• 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
• 3 tablespoons of oil
Step 1: Parcook rice
Clean and wash 3 cups of rice, 5 times in warm water. Bring 4.5 cups of water and 2 Tablespoons salt to a boil in pars rice cooker. Add the rice and return to a boil, 6-10 minutes. Leave uncovered. The rice is ready when it’s soft. Drain, then rinse the rice under water to stop the cooking. Seperate at least 2 cups rice.
Step 2: Make tahdig layer
In a bowl, mix 2 cups reserved rice, yogurt, and a few drops of saffron water. Add the 3 tablespoons of oil to the bottom of the rice cooker, then spread the combined rice and yogurt over the bottom of the rice cooker pot, to form a tender crust and pack it down with either a spatula or wooden spoon. Sprinkle remaining salt over the packed rice. (the more oil you add to the bottom, the crunchier the crust gets).
Step 3: Shape rice into a pyramid and cook
Add the rest of the rice in the shape of a pyramid. To let steam escape, poke several holes in the pyramid with a stick. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, then mix melted butter and remaining saffron water with 1/4 cup of water and pour over the pyramid. Place a paper towel or clean dish towel over the pot; cover firmly with the lid to prevent steam from escaping. Cook for 50 minutes (you can select the time on your pars rice cooker timer).
Step 4: Separate rice from tahdig and serve
Remove pot from heat and allow to cool, covered, for 5 minutes on a damp surface to free crust from the bottom of the pot. Scoop the rice onto a plate, careful to not to disturb the tahdig at the bottom. Loosen the sides of the tahdig and flip onto a plate, or remove from the pot with a spatula. Serve either whole or broken into individual pieces.
Some use barberries as a garnish on the top of the tahdig. Or serve plain. This dish is a family favorite, and can be enjoyed plain, or with a good stew. Join the fan club-it’s a delicious one.