Crispy baked Persian rice – “Tahchin”


Prep time: 40 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Serves: 4 - 6 people

Tahchin is a famous Persian dish made with basmati rice which is perfectly flavoured with saffron, mixed with egg yolks, yoghurt and neutral oil or melted butter in my case.

This classic dish is so versatile. You can add a layer of meat, mostly shredded chicken, or keep it vegetarian by adding dried fruits. As you can keep things very simple and bake the rice without any additional fillings.

The “Tahchin” is soo good and represents perfectly the persian cuisine. It has all the flavours of Iran. The crispy golden crust on the outside called “Tahdig”, and a beautiful yellow melted and moist rice inside, wonderfully flavoured with saffron. Without forgetting the barberry filling amazingly flavoured with rose water.

What are the barberries ?

The barberries are red berries, known as “zereshk” in Iran, they are sour and have a very citrusy taste. You can easily find them at any Middle Eastern grocery stores, but you can sudstitute them for another dried fruit. Sour cherries, currant or cranberry but for these two last ones soak them in lemon juice before using them. 

How to make “Tahchin” ?

Rinse the rice few times until the water runs clear. Then let the rice soak for 30 minutes. Meanwhile mix the saffron with 2 tablespoons of hot water and set aside until needed. That will help the saffron to release all its flavours.

Bring a pot of water to boil and add salt (for 3 litres of water add 50g of kosher salt). It seems a lot of salt, but depending on Andy Baraghani the water should have the taste of the ocean. This is the way to season the rice itself.
Now add the rice and cook for 6 to 8 minutes. Drain the rice and rinse it with cold water. Set aside.

In a pan over medium-low heat, melt the butter add the barberries, raisins and sugar, cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the rose water.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks, the yoghurt, the oil (or melted butter ), saffron and season with salt. Once it’s very well mixed,add the rice very gently by using a spatula making sure that every grain is coated.

Coat a transparent oven dish (25 cm diameter) with oil, place the half quantity of the rice mixture, scatter half of barberries over and top with the remaining rice.

Cover the dish tightly with baking paper and foil. Bake in a preheated oven (200C) until the rice on the bottom and around the edges is deep golden brown, it will take between 65 – 85 minutes rotating the dish halfway through the baking time. 

After it has been baked, let it cool 10 minutes, before you turne it upside down, the dish comes out perfectly. Serve it decorated with the remaining barberries you can also add some slivered pistachios. 

The yogurt, eggs, and oil are what create the golden color and crispy texture called “tahdig” which is the crunchy crust at the bottom.

The recipe is from Andy Baraghani.

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Crispy baked Persian rice - “Tahchin”

  • Prep time: 40 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Total time: 2 hours 10 minutes
  • Serves: 4 - 6 people


For the tahchin :

  • 350 g Basmati rice
  • 3 Litres of water
  • 50 g Kosher salt
  • 250 g yoghurt full fat , ( not Greek )
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 90 g clarified and melted butter, (or neutral oil : sunflower, canola oil…)
  • 0,6 g saffron threads, ( 1 tsp)
  • 1-1/2 tsp of salt

For the filling :

  • 35 g dried barberries
  • 35 g raisin, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp butter, unsalted
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 2 tsp rose water, (optional )
  • 1 Tbsp slivered pistachios , to serve (optional)

Method :

  • 1)

    First thing to do is to grind the saffron threads with a pinch of salt, until you have a powder then add 2 Tbsp of hot water to it.


    All the flavours of this dish comes from the saffron, so let it sit as long as possible to allow saffron to steep and draw out as much colour and flavours as possible.

  • 2)

    In a sieve, rince the rice under cool running water swishing rice around with your hands to get rid of excess starch. Continue to rinse until the water runs clear.

    In a bowl put the rice and cover with water and let sit for 30 minutes .

    After 30 minutes it looks like that :

  • 3)

    Bring a large pot of water (3 litres) to a boil and add 50g of kosher salt.

    Drain the rice , then add it to the boiling water and give it a few stirs to prevent rice from sticking to the bottom. Cook 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until rice begins to rise to the top.

    The rice should be “al dente “, soft on the outside but still firm on the inside.

    Drain and rinse with cold water, give it a shake to make sure that the grains are not sticking together. Keep it in the sieve to drain completely. Set aside.

  • 4)

    Meanwhile the rice was cooking, make the filling.

    Melt 2 Teaspoons of butter in a small pan over medium-low heat. Add the barberries and the raisins with sugar, cook for about 2 minutes stirring often, until plumped slightly and warmed through.

    Remove from the heat and stir in rose water, if using.

  • 5)

    Place rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 200C° Fan.

    In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks, yogurt, melted butter and 1-1/2 tsp of salt, add in the bloomed saffron and mix very well until all these ingredients are combined.

    Scatter rice over yogurt mixture and gently toss to ensure every grain is coated. Use a spatula to make sure to not break the rice grain.

    Look at this amazing yellow golden colour, I love it.


  • 6)

    Coat a 25 diameter glass pie dish with oil (glass lets you check on the color from underneath). Add half of rice mixture and use the palms of your hands or a measuring cup to gently pack and compact rice into dish.

    Scatter half of barberries over.

    Then top with remaining rice. Press down again, this time more firmly (this helps with unmolding).

  • 7)

    Cover dish tightly with baking paper then foil and bake until rice on the bottom and around edges is a deep golden brown, this will take 65–80 minutes rotating the dish halfway through the baking time. Please keep an eye on it, because the baking time depends on your oven.

    Let cool 10 minutes; discard foil. Loosen the rice around the edges using the point of a knife. Place a large plate on top and invert rice onto plate like a cake. Top it with the remaining barberries and slivered pistachios.

Tricks & Tips :

  • For the rice use basmati rice for this recipe, the grain should be fat and long with a pale yellow colour . Sometimes labelled as extra long fancy basmati rice.
  • The rice needs to be rinsed until the water is clear, it will help the grain to not stick together and the rice very fluffy. Then you can soak the rice for  30 minutes to 2 hours, but you can skip the soaking process for this particular dish.
  • The rice is done when it begins to rise to the top and the water comes back to a boil. The rice should be “ al dente”, it will finish cooking in the oven.
  • Grind the saffron with a pinch of salt, to extract all the flavours from the threads. The salt will help to break down the saffron threads and have a fine powder.
  • Don’t put the oven dish on a baking sheet, place it on the bottom rack for proper darkening. The baking will take between 60 to 85 minutes, but after 55 minutes keep watching your rice so it will not burn.
  • Use a transparent glass pie dish, it will allow you to monitor the cooking.



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