The humble rice transformed into an epic side! Called Tachin or Tahchin, this baked Persian Saffron Rice is crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. It’s seasoned enough to eat plain but terrific paired with even heavily spiced mains. That crust is everything!!
Brought to you in partnership with Farmers Union Greek Yogurt.
Have you ever seen a more spectacular looking rice dish?? Look at that insane golden crust!!!! Look at that beautiful vibrant yellow rice!!
Word of warning: Don’t take this Persian Saffron Rice to gatherings because it will steal the show and the host will get annoyed.
Instead, make this as part of your own Persian Feast. Because it’s PERSIAN WEEK here on RecipeTin Eats!
Here’s what we’ve got on the menu for this week:
- This Persian Saffron Rice – there are no words. JUST LOOK AT IT!!!!
- Persian Lamb Shanks (coming Wednesday) – braised until fall apart tender in a beautiful aromatic broth. Incredibly easy with every day spices you’ll find at any supermarket!
- Persian Cucumber Tomato Salad (coming Wednesday, in the Lamb Shanks recipe)- lovely and fresh, with a little sprinkle of Sumac for a touch of Persian exoticness; and
- Persian Love Cake (coming Friday)- made with semolina and almond meal, you’ll love how this cake is soaked through with hot syrup!
IT’S CALLED TACHIN
This Persian Saffron Rice is not something I made up. It’s a real-deal Persian dish called Tachin.
Often you’ll find recipes where it’s layered with a bit of chicken or other protein of vegetables. But for my Persian menu, I’m using it as a side dish so I opted to keep it plain.
Not that there’s anything plain about Tachin!!!
You’ll often find recipes for Tachin – also sometimes referred to as Tahdig – cooked on the stove. But having tried that several times, I can tell you definitively that oven is much easier and safer! On stove top, there’s a high risk of breakage when you flip it, you can’t see when the base is perfectly golden brown and actually, it’s harder to get lovely even golden browning on the stove, you tend to get darker and lighter patches.
YOGURT MIXTURE FOR SAFFRON RICE
All those vibrant colours and textures on the table, and I swear all I can focus on is the saffron rice! Not to talk down everything else on that table, because it’s all super tasty. But I have a big soft spot for the rice because it’s one of those recipes that looks exotic but is deceptively easy.
Love recipes like that!
The key to this recipe is a yogurt-egg-oil-saffron mixture that is mixed with par boiled rice, then layered with barberries in a pie dish and baked until crispy on the outside.
This is the yogurt I use – Farmers Union Greek Yogurt. It’s the yogurt I’ve always used for all my cooking – savoury and sweet – as well dolloping / dipping / drizzling on everything from this Lamb Shawarma Chickpea Soup to Crispy Baked Chicken Tenders to this San Fran Chicken Salad with Granch (Greek-Yogurt-Ranch-Dressing).
It’d be a rare occasion if you opened my fridge and didn’t see a big tub of it.
They look like dried pomegranates (is there such a thing??!!) and taste like sour cherries. A very Persian ingredient, you won’t find these in every day supermarkets but don’t fret! Yes, having barberries makes it authentically Persian. But from a flavour and visual perspective, it can be substituted with chopped dried sour cherries or cranberries.
You’ll find dried barberries at Persian / Middle Eastern stores or at gourmet stores like The Essential Ingredient. In this Persian Saffron Rice, it’s used in the layers as well as a garnish. Beautiful pops of colour against the yellow rice and deep golden crust.
Let’s be honest – I can talk up how the rice inside is fluffy and flavoured with the yogurt mixture, and how it’s so tasty you can eat it plain, and how you’ll love the little pops of sourness from the barberries that cuts through the richness of the rice.
But you and I both know that this recipe is all about that golden crust. That crust you want to peel off and have all to yourself.
Pull yourself together!! This is a dish for sharing!! – Nagi x
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
Persian Saffron Rice (Tachin)
Recipe video above. This is a rice side dish that will steal the show! The rice stays fluffy and tastes quite rich, but it’s not heavily flavoured (hence suitable as a side dish), yet is flavoured enough that you’ll want to eat it plain. The barberries provide welcome pops of sour but don’t fret if you can’t find them, see Note 2 for substitutions. This rice dish will pair terrifically with any Persian / Middle Eastern / Lebanese / Gulf recipes. See in post for Persian Feast menu!
- 2 cups / 360g basmati rice ((Note 1))
- 1 tbsp salt
- 3 litres / 3 quarts water
- 1/2 cup dried barberries ((Note 2))
- 2 tbsp / 30g unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 tsp rose water ((optional))
- 1 tsp saffron threads ((Note 3))
- 2 tbsp warm water
- 1 cup / 250 g plain yogurt ((I use Farmers Union Greek Yogurt))
- 1/2 cup / 125 ml oil (, neutral (or butter!))
- 3 egg yolks
- 3/4 tsp salt
- Bring water to the boil in a large pot. Add salt and rice. Bring back up to the boil then cook for 5 minutes. Drain and leave to steam dry for 5 minutes.
Melt butter in a small pan over medium heat. Add barberries and cook for about 1 1/2 minutes until they plump up (see video!).
- Remove from heat (they will shrivel quickly) then stir through rose water (if using).
- Preheat oven to 200C/390F (standard) or 180C/350F (fan).
- Lightly grease a glass pie dish with oil.
- Ground saffron into powder (optional step). Add water and leave to seep for 10 minutes.
- Mix yogurt, egg, oil, saffron water and salt in a large bowl.
- Add rice, stir well.
- Pour half the rice in the pie dish, smooth surface. Top with 1/3 of the barberries.
- Cover with remaining rice, smooth surface, sprinkle over another 1/3 of the barberries. Press down firmly, cover with foil.
- Bake 60 – 80 minutes until the crust is deep golden all over.
Rest for 10 minutes. Remove foil. Place serving plate on pie dish then flip upside down (it won’t stick because of the oil, see video!).
- Scatter surface with remaining barberries then serve.
1. Can be substituted with long grain or jasmine rice.
2. A Persian ingredient found at speciality and ethnic stores. Tastes sour and provides great pops of colour. Can be substituted with 1 cup of dried sour cherries or cranberries or craisins.
3. Can be substituted with 1/16 tsp of economical saffron powder. Basically, if saffron powder is around the same price as other spices, then it’s the economical version ie not 100% saffron (saffron is the most expensive spice in the world). Grinding into powder is optional. I’ve done it without grinding and didn’t notice a difference in overall colour though you do see little saffron strands (which is pretty!).
4. Slightly adapted from this Bon Appetit Crunchy Baked Saffron Rice.
5. Nutrition per serving. Serves 8 to 12 as a side as part of a multi-course meal.
Calories from Fat 162
LIFE OF DOZER
Big goodbye hug as I head off to Vietnam for a couple of weeks. I love this damn dog so much.
As for Dozer – he’s off to the golden retriever boarder where it’s 24/7 fun and rumbles!!!
Today’s recipe is brought to you courtesy of Farmers Union. I’ve used their Greek style natural yogurt for as long as I can remember. So it was a no brainer when they asked if I’d create a recipe for them!!