I have an overwhelming collection of tahdig recipes. I have always wanted to make this Persian rice dish!
The dish is named for the crispy layer of rice that forms at the bottom of the pot is known as tahdig, which means “bottom of the pot.” This version also has thinly sliced potatoes in the crispy layer. This was my first attempt, and although delicious, it was a little bit too crispy and dark on the top. I modified the cooking times in the recipe below.
This recipe is from Antoni in the Kitchen by Antoni Porowski. I used Yukon gold potatoes and seasoned the finished dish with sprinkled sumac.
Yield: Serves 8 as a side dish
- 2 cups white Basmati rice
- Kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp crumbled saffron threads
- 4 T (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided
- 3/4 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 small Russet or 1-2 small Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/16-inch thick
- 1 T coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 T dried cranberries, coarsely chopped, optional
- sumac, for sprinkling, optional
- Place the rice in a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon salt and cold water to cover by 1 inch; stir. Let stand for 30 minutes.
- Drain the rice in a strainer and rinse under cold water until the water runs clear.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the saffron with 1 tablespoon of hot water; set aside.
- Place the rice in a large saucepan. Add 8 cups water and 2 tablespoons salt and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the rice is slightly softened on the outside, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Drain the rice in a sieve and rinse under cold running water, then shake well to remove excess water. Set aside.
- Cut out a round of parchment paper to cover the bottom of a 10-inch wide or other wide heavy pot with a lid, such as a Dutch oven. (I used a 10-inch enameled cast iron Dutch oven.) Line the pan with the parchment round.
- Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the pot and melt over medium-low heat, then remove from the heat and stir in the turmeric and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
- Arrange the potatoes, overlapping, on the bottom of the pan.
- Add the rice and 1/4 teaspoons salt to the bowl with the saffron water and gently stir to combine.
- Spoon the rice on top of the sliced potatoes (do not press or pack down). Using a fork, gently spread the rice in an even layer.
- Cook, uncovered, over medium or medium-low heat, until the mixture is fragrant, about 7 to 10 minutes. (I cooked it for 10 minutes over medium heat but would reduce the time to 7 minutes next time- possibly over medium-low heat.)
- Wrap a clean dishcloth or flour sack towel around the lid and tightly cover the pan, folding the cloth over the edges of the lid.
- Reduce the lowest possibly setting and cook, undisturbed, until the potatoes are crisp (you can peek by lifting up the mixture at an edge or two with a large serving spoon), 1 1/2 hours to 1 3/4 hours.
- Uncover and dot with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Invert the dish onto a serving plate, then lift off and discard the parchment paper.
- Sprinkle with the parsley, cranberries, and sumac, as desired.