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.