Persian saffron rice cake, also known as Tahchin, is a famous Persian dish with plenty of Persian Saffron. It is usually served with chicken and always garnished with lots of barberries. Tahchin can be a stunning showstopper of a dish to impress your guests or as simple as a go-to staple perfect for a midweek dinner.

Tahchin recipe

What is Tahchin?

Tahchin or Tahcheen is a trendy dish that Iranians are fond of. You will likely find it as a center dish at weddings, feasts, and all types of celebrations!

Once Tahchin is flipped, it has a top layer of Tahdig which means the bottom of the pot. It usually refers to the crispy layer of fried rice at the bottom of the pot. Getting the perfect, evenly crispy golden crust on the Persian rice cake is always tricky. Most cooks would show off their high cooking skills by cooking Tahchin. Unlike all other Persian rice recipes, Tahchin's rice is sticky and has a cake texture instead of being all fluffy and light.

If you try it, you will ask for seconds, thirds, and maybe even fourths! Tahchin is a fantastic dish that you shouldn't miss. I love it!

On top of the tahdig is a crown of nuts like almond and pistachio flakes. We also fry some sultanas and barberries. The tart flavor of barberries or Zereshk, essential in many Iranian rice pilafs, takes this already flavorful dish to another level.

Tahdig and Tahchin are two different things

Tahdig is the golden crispy bottom part of every steamed rice, which can be made with saffron rice, potatoes, flatbread like lavash, or so many other things. Tahchin, on the other hand, is a complete meal. It is a different dish from Zereshk Polo Morgh.

tahchin morgh

Do you want to make the perfect Persian rice cake (Tahchin)?

Tahchin is traditionally made in a nonstick pot on medium heat, but there is always a possibility of burning the bottom if you're not careful. That's why I highly recommend you cook Tahchin in an oven-safe dish, it's easier, and you will always end up with a delicious, evenly golden Tahchin!

To prevent the rice from sticking, grease the cast iron well or use a ceramic casserole dish (it will only take longer for the rice to form a crispy crust). However, the crust becomes evenly golden with a simple nonstick cake tin and flips out easily.

It is essential to use top-quality rice when cooking Tahchin since it affects the dish's texture in a significant way. Choosing suitable rice and ensuring its quality before making a delicious dish is also essential.

Tahchin recipe and ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups long-grain Persian rice
  • Two boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • One large onion
  • Three eggs, yolks only
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 7 tbsp bloomed Saffron
  • 3 tbsp barberries, washed and soaked for 10 minutes
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • Salt to taste
  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp Butter
  • Water
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 3/4 Cup Dried Barberries
  • 1/2 tbsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Rose Water
  • 2 tbsp Slivered Pistachios

Tahchin ingredient

Now it's time to make Tahchin together:

  1. Place the raw chicken breasts in a pot with roughly chopped onion, turmeric, salt, pepper and a cup of water; bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and cook for an hour on medium-low heat. Set aside to cool after cooking. Then Shred the chicken into pieces.
  2. Heat butter in a pan. Then add chicken and 3 tbsp of bloomed Persian Saffron. Drain barberries, then add and mix well. Don't forget to Season with salt and pepper. 
  3. Meanwhile, Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large pot on medium-high heat; add the washed, soaked rice and boil for about 8-10 minutes or until rice grains are soft on the ends and firm in the center. Drain and pour some cool water over it to cool and separate the rice grains (this cool water rinse helps bring about more fluffy rice). Set the rice aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine yogurt, yolks, oil, salt, pepper and the rest of the Saffron. Combine well.
  5. Add the rice to the yogurt mixture and gently combine. (Do avoid breaking rice grains)
  6. In a nonstick round or loaf cake tin, add 3 tbsp of oil, and move the oil around to cover the bottom uniformly. Pour in 2/3 of the rice and press the rice mix up the sides of the tin by about 1 inch.
  7. Pour the chicken mixture evenly into the hole.
  8. Place the remaining rice on top, and flatten it with a spoon's back while pressing down lightly. You can drizzle some melted butter over the top layer of rice.
  9. Cover with aluminum foil and poke holes into the aluminum foil using a knife to let the steam out—Bake in a 200°C oven for about 45 minutes to an hour. The dish is ready once the crust forms.
  10. Meanwhile, to prepare the barberries, melt the butter in a pan over medium-low heat. Add in barberries, and stir until coated with butter. Add in sugar, rose water and slivered pistachios. Stir well. Barberries are ready once they're shiny. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  11. Once the Tahchin is ready, Take it out of the oven and let it cool for a few minutes; this way, the crust becomes more accessible. Place your serving platter on the cake tin. Hold firmly while wearing mittens, and gently turn the container over. Voila! Your delicious Persian rice cake is ready.

Tahchin Morgh Recipe

The last word about Tahchin 

Different types of tahchin are available to suit different tastes. Pomegranate and walnut Tahchin does not stand among the traditional variations of the Persian classic (e.g. chicken, spinach, or red meat). Persian folks, however, customarily enjoy the liberty of incorporating ingredients of their choice (e.g. eggplant, cauliflower, assorted seafood, and legumes) into the stuffing mixtures, which later will be layered in between rice. Pomegranate tahchin is also one of these items that are mostly served on Yalda night and have a delightful taste.

This post discussed making excellent Tahchin and the essential aspects to remember when making this classic dish.

What are your thoughts on the other golden rules we should follow when preparing the Tahchin Morgh?

Let us know what you think in the comments section.

      Here is a list of other Persian food recipes that you might find interesting:

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      Comments (1)

        • Kevin
        • 2022-10-23 02:53:54
        I like this recipe, it's neat! This is a new way to use Persian rice, and I love it. However, I am sure it will become an old friend soon.

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