Tahchin is a Persian rice dish with distinctive saffron flavor and golden yellow color. The method of cooking produces a delicous, crispy golden brown crust (tahdig), which is showcased on top when the rice ‘cake’ is flipped over for serving. Tachin is a beautiful Persian saffron dish that is simple to make and sure to impress.
Tahchin is classic Persian saffron rice dish; the name comes from Farsi words meaning arranged on the bottom. The rice mixes with egg, yogurt and saffron. The egg yolk and saffron give the rice a golden yellow color, which is a hallmark of the dish. The rice is pressed firmly in a pan and cooked slowly, resulting in the rice adhering together in a cake-like manner. Importantly, the part of the rice making contact with the pan develops the tahdig, the crispy brown crust. The tachin is flipped when serving, revealing the brown crust on the top. Underneath the brown crust is the golden saffron rice. .s
Basic Tachin Ingredients
This basic tahchin recipe only has a handful of ingredients.
1.) Basmati rice – it is best to use a long grain rice that is not too sticky or starchy. This is desirable in the final texture of the rice dish
2.) Saffron – saffron threads are a key component in this dish and prevalent in Iranian cooking. The saffron adds the distinctive flavor of the dish as well as the golden yellow color of the rice. Steep in some warm water before mixing the rice in order to draw the pigment out of the saffron
3.) Eggs – the eggs will bind the the rice together, resulting in a coherent tachin rice ‘cake’ after cooking. In addition, the egg yolks give a golden yellow color to the rice, along with the saffron
4.) Yogurt – the yogurt adds flavor and texture to the dish. It brings a welcome acidity to the rice.
5.) Vegetable oil – a generous amount of oil is desirable here. It will help create the crispy golden brown crust, or tahdig, which many consider the best part of the dish
6.) Additional ingredients such as barberries or shredded chicken are common. This recipe focuses on the saffron rice alone, but add any additional ingredients if desired
Making Crispy Persian Saffron Rice (Tahchin)
Making crispy Persian saffron rice is simple. It’s important to note that we are cooking the rice ‘cake’ at the same time we are creating the golden brown crust on top. Our cooking method, temperature, and timing are chosen accordingly.
First, rinse the rice iand soak for 30 minutes. After rinsing and soaking, the rice is parcooked in salted boiling water for about five minutes. The rice will not be fully cooked; it will finish cooking in the tahchin.
Meanwhile, soak the saffron in warm water to extract the pigment. Soak about 30 minutes before preparation in order to give time for optimal extraction.
Mix the saffron, water, eggs, yogurt, oil, and a pinch of salt together. Fold in the parcooked rice.
Generously oil the nonstick pan or dish you will be cooking in. This oil will help create the crust as well as prevent sticking. If you want to be sure the rice will not stick, you can line your pan with parchment paper (be sure to still generously oil the top of the parchment paper). The parchment paper will slow down the development of the tahdig, or crispy brown crust, so you will have to cook it a little longer and/or at a higher temperature to get the same crust.
Also, a glass pan is very useful here if you have one so that you are able to monitor the development of the brown crust on the bottom, and see when it has the color you want.
Press the rice mixture firmly into the oiled pan, making sure the rice is making good contact with the surface of the pan. Cover and bake in a 350 deg. oven for around 30 minutes, until the crispy brown crust has formed. Allow to rest for five minutes.
Serving Tahchin Rice
When ready to serve, flip your pan onto a flat surface, and let the tachin fall from the pan. Serve the tahchin by cutting out pieces of the rice ‘cake’. Serve the crispy saffron rice by itself, or serve with barberries, cranberries, chicken, yogurt, herbs, or anything else that sounds good to you.
Tahchin (Crispy Persian Saffron Rice)
- Oven safe nonstick saute/fry pan with lid for this recipe quantity, it's best if it holds three to four quarts
- 2 cups basmati rice rinse and soak for 30 minutes
- 0.75 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 each whole eggs
- 2 each egg yolks
- 1.5 tsp saffron threads
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp hot water
- 8 tbsp avocado oil or other neutral oil
- Put saffron in hot water to steep. Preheat oven to 350 deg. F.
- Bring a pot of water to boil and season it with salt. After soaking and rinsing the basmati rice, parcook the rice in boiling salted water for six minutes. Drain the rice in a colander and return back to the pot to cool a little bit.
- Add egg and yolks to large mixing bowl and whisk. Whisk in yogurt, salt, and saffron water. Then whisk in five tbsp of avocado oil.
- Add rice to mixture and fold with a spatula until all the rice is evenly coated
- Thoroughly grease the saute pan with the remaining three tablespoons of avocado oil. Put the rice mixture into the saute pan and flatten it evenly in the pan. (You can also use parchment paper between the rice and pan to guarantee the rice won't stick. However if a good nonstick pan is thoroughly greased, it isn't necessary).
- Cover the pan with lid and put it in 350 deg oven.
- After 25 minutes, take out pan and check the color of the rice crust. Insert a spatula in the side and push the rice away from the pan so that you can see the color of the rice crust. If it is deep golden brown, the tachin is done. If not, recover and bake for another five to ten minutes, until golden brown crust has formed.
- After cooking, allow rice to rest in pan for five minutes. Run a spatula around the side of the pan to make sure rice is separated from the pan. To get the tachin out of the pan, put a large plate upside down on top of the pan. In one clean motion, flip the pan and plate so that the pan is upside down and the plate is right side up. Lift the pan up to reveal your finished tachin.