t a h c h i n • ته چین

recipes, Uncategorized

i’m not sure how this recipe wasn’t my first post on this blog, as it’s one of my favorites to make (and eat!)

i remember always referring to this as a rice “cake” when i was younger, because of the way it comes out with a flawless, golden crust (tahdig) and (at least in our house) in the shape of a sheet cake! the yogurt and eggs in this recipe bind the rice together to give it a fluffy texture, and bits of chicken (or beef, or eggplant, or nothing if you prefer!) in the middle make it a delicious dish. top it off with some barberries (zereshk) or sliced pistachios or almonds to make it pretty and delicious!

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recipe:

ingredients:

  • 3 cups basmati rice, rinsed and soaked in salty water
  • 7 – 8 chicken boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced in thick rings
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron, (dissolve ⅛ in hot water for rice mixture, and ⅛ in hot water for chicken)
  • Whole milk yogurt (I used Trader Joe’s European Style or Stonyfield Plain)
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil + more for coating the pan
  • 3 eggs — 2 yolks and 1 whole egg

instructions:

  • rinse rice until water runs practically clear, and then soak in a bowl of well salted water for at least 1 – 2 hours (the longer it soaks, the longer the grain of rice will be)
  • slice onion into large rings and line a large pan with the onions
  • rub chicken with salt and pepper, and lay on top of onion slices
  • pour one of the dissolved saffron mixtures over the chicken, close the lid of the pan
  • cook chicken on low, slowly increasing the heat until the chicken is cooked through (i recommend flipping the chicken halfway through and making sure the saffron liquid in the pan gets on both sides of the chicken to give it a nice color!)
  • set the chicken aside to cool, strain and reserve the liquid from the pan for later
  • once chicken has rested/cooled a bit, cut into small strips

 

  • fill a large pot halfway with water with some salt and bring to a boil
  • once boiling, pour the water from the rice (water only!!) into the boiling water and bring the whole thing back to a boil
  • add the rice to the boiling water, give it a quick and gentle stir to loosen any rice from the bottom of the pot
  • once the rice begins to float to the top, test a grain or two to check that it is al dente, then strain the rice and set aside

 

  • in a large bowl, combine the yogurt, saffron mixture, eggs, salt and pepper, and oil
  • add ⅔ of a cup of the reserved liquid from the chicken to the yogurt mixture
  • once the mixture is well-combined, slowly and gently fold in the rice (i suggest folding in sections of the rice, and not the whole pot at once)
  • IF THE RICE IS STILL HOT be sure to add it slowly to the yogurt to avoid getting scrambled eggs!

 

  • preheat oven to 400*F
  • coat a 10×15 pyrex pan with enough vegetable oil to cover about 1cm of the pan (make sure to swirl the oil around to get the sides of the pyrex dish as well)
  • when the oven is hot, put the pyrex with oil inside for 5-10 minutes until oil is piping hot
  • remove pyrex and begin layering the rice–it takes about half of the rice and yogurt mixture for this layer, and make sure the whole pan is covered on the bottom
  • arrange the chicken strips across the top of this layer, making sure it’s a dense layer of chicken
  • pour the rest of the rice mixture on top and smooth it all out, wrap with foil

 

  • put the dish back into the oven
  • it takes about 1.5 – 2 hours to cook, but depending on your oven you should periodically check the status of the crust (the beauty of cooking in glass dishware!)
  • once the crust is nearing golden, remove the foil and let it cook for another 10 minutes then remove the dish from the oven once the crust is truly golden
  • allow the tahchin to rest for 10-15 minutes before flipping it into a serving dish

 

  • optional: rinse ¼ cup of barberries very well and sauté lightly in a bit of vegetable oil until the berries puff up and turn bright red
  • top the flipped tahchin with the berries in any design you prefer!

 

notes:

  • much of the tahchin can be made ahead of time, beginning from the night before
  • i typically cook the chicken the day before, allow it to cool, slice it and store it in tupperware in the fridge with the liquid on top, then microwave it briefly before assembly
  • the rice can be parboiled ahead of time and store in the same pot until you’re ready to mix
  • you can even assemble the tahchin a couple hours ahead of baking–but still be sure to heat up the oil before layering
  • i practice bad cooking techniques and take out the tahchin several times during the process to check the tahdig, but it’s never failed me so don’t be afraid to pull the whole thing out to look at the bottom of the dish!

 

xx.

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easy persian rice • k a t e h • کته

recipes, Uncategorized

there are a couple methods for making persian-style rice, and the easier/simpler method is called kateh. the resulting rice is typically more sticky than that of other cooking methods, and the tahdig (highly-coveted, thick rice crust at the bottom of the pot) doesn’t always come out as thick and crunchy. regardless, it still has the amazing aroma that comes with basmati rice, and it’s a simple addition to any persian dish!

when i was younger, i’d always ask my mom to let me make the kateh when she would make it for dinner or sunday afternoon meal. with her guidance and attention to timing, it always, always turned out great–tahdig included. i used to think i was the master of making kateh, but now that i have to make it on my own, i realize that this was not the case! after a couple nearly-failed attempts (read: too mushy, too salty, no tahdig, etc.), i’ve finally mastered the texture and taste associated with a good kateh, and the only left for me to do is get a good non-stick pot so my tahdig will actually come out (this is key!!)

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having had to explain to my roommate recently why we wrap the pot lid with a towel (it’s to collect the steam towards the end of the cooking), and what tahdig is (the best part of persian food, hands down), i figured it’s a good idea to do a little post on this!

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recipe (serves 3):

ingredients:

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 ¼ cup water
  • salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable/canola oil
  • ⅛ teaspoon saffron dissolved in 1-2 tablespoon of hot water (optional)

instructions:

  1. add rice to a non-stick pot and rinse 3-4 times, or until water runs clear
  2. add measured water to pot (alternatively, add enough water to cover rice by ½ inch), and salt, to taste–test the water, it should taste salty, but not too salty! allow rice to soak for at least 45 minutes before turning on heat
  3. turn stove on medium/high heat, and let rice absorb water (without lid)
  4. when the rice has absorbed most of the water (NOT ALL!) add the oil and gently stir the pot, allowing oil to seep to the bottom
  5. cover the pot lid tightly with a clean, thick cloth or dish towel, and place on pot
  6. allow rice to cook for 40-50 minutes on low-medium heat
  7. (optional) when rice has cooked, take a couple spoonfuls and place in a bowl, pour saffron mixture over rice and fluff with a fork until the rice has turned a bright yellow/orange color. this is used for garnishing the rice
  8. either place a dish over the pot and flip for a cake-looking rice, or spoon out the rice gently and remove the tahdig (if present) separately. spoon saffron rice over, serve with kabobs or stews and enjoy!

xx.