tahdig crispy persian rice spoon

Crispy Persian Rice with Tahdig

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Inspired by Samin Nosrat’s book Salt, Fat, Acid Heat, and documentary by the same name, I was brave enough to try out the incredibly flavorful Crispy Persian Rice with Tahdig. I want to walk you through my first attempt following along with Samin’s amazing recipe. The results may surprise you!!

Let’s jump right in!

This post is part of our Basic Cooking Skills series. Each week we will be doing a deep-dive into one basic cooking skill and a brand new recipe to accompany it to practice that newfound skill. Check back throughout the series for updates and new posts.


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Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat

I’d be remiss to not give you the opportunity to check out Samin’s cookbook, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. She is such a gem and her personality beams through her stories she presents.

Samin is so knowledgeable and the cookbook really explains these 4 elements of cooking in a way that makes you truly understand the science behind the cooking and how you can easily improve your cooking. Her recipes are amazing and the book is beautifully illustrated throughout.

I cannot recommend her book enough!

what makes crispy persian rice so good?

SALT.

As we learned in our 4 elements of cooking post, salt enhances flavor.

To make Persian rice, cook the rice in extremely salty water. As Samin refers to it in her recipe, “the water should taste saltier than the saltiest seawater you’ve ever tasted.”

Goodness that’s a lot of salt! I’m definitely not used to cooking with that much.

The rice only cooks in the salty water for a brief amount of time and most of it is rinsed, so you don’t have to worry about it overpowering the meal.

tahdig persian rice

what is tahdig?

Tahdig is the delectable, crunchy, golden brown layer of rice that forms along the bottom of the pot. Tahdig literally means “bottom of the pot” in Persian.

Mixed rice and Greek yogurt form this bottom layer of yummy deliciousness that is pan-fried to perfection.

No matter how much you make, there’s never enough to go around!

The rice is incredibly tasty but the tahdig is untouchable!! We could not stop snacking on the crispy rice bits of tahdig and had to force ourselves to leave it be.

how to: partially cook the rice

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

rinse rice cloudy

Rinse 2 cups of rice with cold water and strain. This process removes starch that would cause the rice to clump together. Repeat 6-7 times or until the water starts to run clear.

rinse rice clear

As you can tell, the water started out really cloudy but then look after just a few rinses!

Stir in the rice to the boiling water and add LOTS of salt. I’m talking on the order of a third of a cup! The goal is for the water to taste like the ocean and you should be concerned that you over-salted it, then you’re doing it right.

Salt greatly enhances the flavor of the rice in its brief cooking time.

Par-cook the rice for 8 minutes. It will seem like it’s undercooked, but it will continue cooking later in the pan, don’t worry.

Drain the water and rinse the rice in cold water so it does not continue cooking.

how to: prepare the rice mixture

To get a nice crispy tahdig we need to mix in Greek yogurt with the rice that will sit on the bottom of the pan.

rice and greek yogurt

Separate a cup of the cooked rice into a small bowl. Mix thoroughly with 2-3 tablespoons of Greek yogurt.

rice greek yogurt mixture pan

Over medium heat, add 3 tbsp butter and a few splashes of olive oil to a cast iron pan. Press the rice-yogurt mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan.

how to: cook crispy persian rice with tahdig

persian rice mound

Pour the remaining rice on top of the rice-yogurt mixture and pat to form a slight mound.

persian rice wooden spoon poke holes

To help steam escape and aid the rice-yogurt mixture in getting extra crispy, use the end of a large spoon to make holes that reach to the bottom of the pan.

As the rice cooks it will expand slightly, almost filling in the holes you poked.

Cook the rice for 35 minutes, or until the edges of the bottom layer are nice and brown. To ensure even cooking, rotate the pan every 5 minutes as it cooks. I find that with a good cast iron pan that heats evenly this is optional, but if you’re unsure it’s best to rotate!

persian rice tahdig edge

Once you start to see these beautiful golden edges, it’s time for the scary part….flipping it over!

Run a spatula around the edges of the pan to unstick any stubborn pieces. Place a large plate on top of the pan, grip tightly in both hands, and flip!

On my first try, I was lucky enough to get this beautiful tahdig and it didn’t fall apart either!!

If it breaks apart, there’s no need to feel bad and it was taste JUST as good, I promise!

crispy persian rice with tahdig
tahdig crispy persian rice spoon

Crispy Persian Rice with Tahdig

Crispy Persian Rice with Tahdig is a classic Persian style of rice with mouthwatering, crispy tahdig that's worth fighting for!
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Persian
Keyword: persian, side dish

Ingredients

  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • cup salt
  • 3 tbsp Greek yogurt
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp olive oil or avocado oil

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Rinse 2 cups of rice with cold water and strain. Repeat until the water runs clear.
  • Stir the rice into the boiling water and add ⅓ cup of salt. Par-cook the rice for 8 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water.
  • Separate a cup of the cooked rice into a small bowl. Mix thoroughly with 2-3 tablespoons of Greek yogurt.
  • Over medium heat, add 3 tbsp butter and a few splashes of olive oil to a cast iron pan. Press the rice-yogurt mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan.
  • Pour the remaining rice on top of the rice-yogurt mixture and pat to form a slight mound. Use the end of a large spoon to make holes that reach to the bottom of the pan.
  • Cook the rice for 35 minutes, or until the edges of the bottom layer are nice and brown. To ensure even cooking, rotate the pan every 5 minutes as it cooks.
  • Once finished cooking, run a spatula around the edges of the pan to unstick any pieces. Place a large plate on top of the pan and flip. Serve warm.
Tried this recipe?Mention @Abundance.of.Flavor or tag #AbundanceofFlavor!

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crispy persian rice with tahdig pin
crispy persian rice with tahdig pin

I’m still in disbelief that my tahdig came out in one piece!! I was overjoyed with its appearance and beyond thrilled with the taste, and I know you can do it too! What are some of your brave kitchen feats that you pulled off?? Share below!

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39 thoughts on “Crispy Persian Rice with Tahdig”

  1. Pingback: 4 Elements of Cooking - Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat - Abundance of Flavor

  2. Omg this looks so beautiful and tasty it’s making my mouth water. I would love to cook this for my partner and her family, I think they would love it 😁

    1. Thank you so much!! I can’t wait to cook it for my family. The dish itself is unfamiliar to them but who doesn’t love rice right??

  3. I saw that episode of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat on Netflix, when Samin Nosrat taught us her mom’s recipe for Crispy Persian Rice with Tahdig. It looked so good! Your photos and instructions are perfect – it’s great to know how easy this was to make, thanks for sharing!

  4. This is a great post, i am not a great cook but this sound like something i would try my hand at making. Thanks for the great recipe ideas.

    1. Thank you so much! It seemed intimidating to me as a new cuisine I had never tried before, but it was just so simple and delicious!

  5. This looks so tasty! I’ve never tried tahdig before, but this dish looks really good. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  6. Cara Wahlgren

    I’m so confused, I read this recipe over and over but I couldn’t find where it says how much rice to start with. Did I miss it? Please help as I really want to make this.

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