Persian rice – Tahdig
This elegant rice dish is cooked in two stages to give you the perfect Persian tahdig, a crispy layer of rice, pan fried in butter until wonderfully crunchy.
- Tip the rice into a mixing bowl and cover with water. Mix around to release the starch and then drain off most of the water. Rinse again 5-6 times or until the water is clear. Cover again with a few inches of water and add 1 tsp of salt. Mix together and leave to soak for 20 minutes.
- Drain the rice and par boil for 6-8 minutes in a large pan of boiling water until al dente. Drain and give a quick rinse in cold water to cool the rice and stop it cooking. Drain again and tip into a mixing bowl.
- Melt the butter in a shallow saucepan over a medium heat. Add the saffron and a pinch of salt. Swirl around the pan and then add a third of the rice. Gently spread the rice out so it completely covers the bottom of the pan.
- Chuck the dill and a pinch of salt into the remaining rice. Mix well. Tip into the pan of rice, which should be sizzling and crackling nicely on the heat. Shake the pan well so that you even out the rice and, using the fork handle, poke a few holes into the rice to let the steam come out. Cover with a clean tea towel and add the lid. Pull the sides of the tea towel up over the lid so they don’t burn. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 40-50 minutes or until the bottom of the rice is crispy.
- Remove the tea towel and the lip. Place a serving dish over the rice and carefully flip the saucepan over. Leave for 30 seconds. Carefully take the saucepan off, so that you are left with the crispy rice ‘cake.’ Scatter over the pistachios and berries and serve immediately.
300g basmati rice
A handful of finely chopped dill
A pinch of saffron
Pistachio slithers to serve
Barberries or dried cranberries to serve