Persian food is one of the world's oldest and most exquisite cuisines. ItsThe influence of rice can be felt in many parts of the world. It's time to get around to one of the most important components of Persian cuisine: the glorious rice with crunchy tahdig! You've heard of it. The fluffy rice flavored with saffron and the crispy part is called Tahdig! How do people make it so perfectly? Well, it's time for you to learn how to master this staple of Iranian food culture.

best Persian rice recipe

What is Persian Rice?

Persian rice is a staple in Persian cuisine. When you are Iranian, you eat rice with almost every meal. Rice is Polo in Farsi, and it is the most important component of some Persian dishes, specifically all of the stews (Khoresh) and some of the kabobs. The standard Iranian rice can be served with almost any Khoresh, such as Ghormeh sabzi, though traditionally, some of the Khoresh (s) can be served with different types of rice. The cooking process for white rice involves the same sequence of steps used to cook all kinds of rice. The rice may be mixed with dried fruits, nuts, or herbs to give it a more exciting taste. The ingredients are added to the rice at various times during steaming.

What is Tahdig?

In Farsi, Tahdig is the name for a bottom layer of crunchy and, crispy rice cooked in an upside-down pot—a staple dish in Persian cuisine. Flip the rice pot upside down on a platter like flipping a cake! Once the pot is lifted, a golden crispy layer will appear on top of the rice, which everyone loves!

There are many ways to make Tahdig, a Persian dish made with rice, but this recipe uses it classically. Some other versions use potato slices or flatbread, and you can even make one version by replacing some of the water you would usually add when cooking rice with plain yogurt (Tahchin)! One of my favorite ways to eat Tahdig is alongside Macaroni—Persian Spaghetti.

Tahdig's custom is to serve everyone equal portions before returning for a second helping. I guarantee there won't be enough of it—you'll want more!

How to cook rice

A Quick Guide to Choosing Rice

For making Persian white rice, use long-grain rice, such as Hashemi rice. While cooking, long-grain rice holds its shape and does not become mushy or sticky; short-grain rice cooks quickly but tends to stick together.

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Saffron rice recipe

Ingredients to Make Rice with Crispy Tahdig

Rice, of course, is the star! The most common and traditional rice to use is Tarem rice. Use the best quality for the best flavor. I use Persian rice. Also, you can use long-grain rice or any white rice.

Adding salt to the boiling water gives the rice its distinctive flavor. After draining and rinsing, any excess salt is washed away.

Olive oil is what I prefer to use. You can use any oil, such as avocado or vegetable oil. Melted butter is also commonly used.

Saffron is a critical ingredient in making Iranian rice and many Persian dishes for its lovely aroma, flavor, and color. Behraman saffron or Zaran saffron are good choices.

Rice with crispy Tahdig

Rice Recipe with Crispy Tahdig

The secret to making Persian Rice is taking care of each step. I will show you how it's done so that next time you make this delicious dish at home, your guests will think you are a master chef!

    • Bring the pot of water, add salt, and boil for 10-15 minutes.
    • Carefully spoon out and disregard any white foam on the top.
    • Check that the rice is not overcooked and has a firm but tender texture.
    • Drain rice through a colander
    • Rinse under cold water with low water pressure
    • Place a generous amount of olive oil at the bottom of your pot.
    • Add the remaining parboiled rice back to the pot. Use the handle of a tablespoon to make holes in the rice to the bottom of the pot.
    • Add a splash of water.
    • Wrap a clean kitchen towel around the lid, and place it back on so that steam does not escape. Cook for 45 minutes over low heat
    • Place a large plate on top of the pot, invert it, and turn the lid askew to remove it.
    • Carefully transfer the pot and enjoy perfectly cooked Persian rice with a crispy bottom layer.

How to Use Saffron in Rice Recipe?

The best way to use saffron is to grind it into a grainy powder using a mortar and pestle.

Add a small amount of the saffron powder, say ¼ teaspoon, to a bowl or glass and boil water. Let it sit for 10 minutes before drinking.

 See the beautiful color and aromas bursting out! You can then drizzle this into your food or rice while cooking it.

Potato Tahdig

Crispy potatoes make an excellent Tahdig!  It’s my favorite variation of this Tahdig recipe, and it only takes a few minutes to make. Check out this recipe for crispy potato tahdig and try it tonight!

Gently peel a potato and slice it into thin, even slices. To layer the pot: add the oil first, then lay down your sliced potatoes. Then, add the rest of the rice and allow it to cook nice and slow on low heat for 45 minutes, and BOOM…. Crispy Potato Tahdig!

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