Cuisine: Middle Eastern

Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Serves: 3

Tahchin (Tah- bottom, Chin - Layer) means layered at the bottom. It is a magnificent Persian dish. The Tahchin Recipe features saffron-infused basmati rice, layered with chicken seasoned with yoghurt, caramelized onion, and topped with barberries. 

  • Basmati rice
  • Saffron strands
  • Egg, chicken
  • Yoghurt
  • Onion
  • Butter
  • Barberries
  • Pistachios
  • Water

A versatile classic rice dish from Persia.

  1. Soak 200 gm of rice in cold water.
  2. Put one small onion (chopped) and one boneless chicken breast in a large pot. Then add 2 tsp salt, pour cold water, and cover it.
  3. Allow it to simmer on medium heat and cook for about 20 minutes or until cooked. 
  4. Take around 60 ml water (chicken broth) in a bowl, add the saffron strands, and set it aside to allow the aroma and colour of saffron to come out.
  5. Now, drain the chicken, shred it using two forks, and let it cool. Do not throw away the chicken broth.
  6. Drain the soaked rice and put it in a saucepan. Now, add cold water to it and cover it.
  7. Bring the rice to boil on medium heat and cook for 10 minutes. Switch off the oven, strain the water, and wash the rice under cold water.
  8. Mix 1/2 cup plain yoghurt and one egg yolk in a bowl and add salt and pepper.
  9. Combine the chicken with 2 tbsp of the yoghurt mixture.
  10. Add the remaining mixture to the rice, and mix.
  11. Now, add 2 tbsp butter to a deep frying pan and bring it to medium heat.
  12. Add the saffron mixture (half) and spread a layer of the rice mixture (2/3rd) over it. 
  13. Layer the rice mixture with chicken and arrange the barberries.
  14. Top it with the rest of the rice mixture and put 60 ml of the chicken broth.
  15. Add the remaining saffron mixture and cook for 10 minutes, uncovered.
  16. Bring the heat lower and cook for 1 hour.
  17. You know your tahchin is ready when a golden crust forms at the bottom of the pan.
  18. Transfer it to a serving plate. Keep it inverted and garnish with fried onions, pistachios, and barberries.

 Chef Tip: If you do not have barberries handy, you can also use dried and chopped cranberries.

The golden crust of Tahchin, tahdig (the bottom layer), is something you will fall in love with for sure. Let us know how your people liked your Tahchin Recipe in the comments section below.

Quick Bites

Fun Fact

Legend has it that tahchin was invented by servants who would eat the leftovers of kings in kitchens after the kings finished their meals. It is believed that servants at the court of the Persian King Naser al-Din Shah Qajar got into a fight over the leftover food at the bottom of the utensils. When the king learned of the quarrel, he ordered that the left-over scorched rice be sent to him. After taking a bite of it, he relished the taste so much that he ordered the bottom part of the food to be sent to him as an appetizer ever since.

Historical Fact

• Tahdig is the part of rice at the bottom of the dish which turns red or brown and becomes scorched due to the heat of the oven. It is believed that one day, a chef of a Persian King, overcooks the rice and it turns into “tahdig” meaning the rice becomes scorched.

• Fearing for his life, he added chicken meat, yogurt, eggs and sprinkled some saffron to make the food tasty and served it. This led to the creation of the now-infamous Tahchin which is a dish made by adding ingredients to Tahdig ( scorched and hardened rice).

Nutrition Fact

• One typical serving of tahchin contains 546.5 calories. It contains 22.8g of total fat, 295.2mg of cholesterol, 118.9mg of sodium, 404.1mg of sodium, 47.3g of total carbohydrate, and 35g of protein. Tahchin being a rice cake provides abundant carbohydrates that fuel the body.

• The vitamins, minerals and organic components found in it increases the functioning and metabolic activity of all the organs.