Tahchin – Persian Saffron Rice with Chicken

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Classic dishes that add color and flavor to our lives are a must! Tahchin, or Persian Saffron Rice with Chicken, is an outstandingly mouthwatering dish. You will most definitely be mesmerized by the fluffy rice texture and tender delicious chicken with irresistible flavors.

Persian Tahchin is saffron rice layered with saffron chicken marinated in yogurt. Once flipped on the serving dish or tray, it is garnished with sultanas, barberries, almonds, and pistachio flakes. Click here to check out the beautifully layered Tahchin. You will fall in love with it at first sight!


Vibrant Colorful Mosaic

A beautiful dish of tahchin, saffron rice with chicken topped with barberries, sultanas, pistachio and almond flakes

My mum makes the best Tahchin ever! Legend has it that many years ago, my dad was on a work trip to Tehran. He had Tahchin in a restaurant and was dazzled by the flavors and texture. My mum being his favorite chef was later asked to remake it. Given it was a while back, there were no online recipes or accessible cookbooks. So, she had to figure out the recipe on her own.

Her attempt wasn’t as successful as she had hoped and didn’t attempt the dish for a while after. Ten years later, after having moved to the UK, she met a lady who was from the capital and familiar with the recipe. She kindly shared how to make the famous Tahchin recipe. Her way was so on point and extra special that my mum passed it on to me. What a grand dish!


What is Tahchin?

Tahchin or Tahjeen is a very popular 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 literally means the bottom of the pot. It usually refers to the crispy layer of fried rice at the bottom of the pot.

Below the top layer, the dish is made up of 4 alternating layers of chicken and rice.

Once served, you will definitely be asking for seconds, thirds, and dare I say- fourths! Do not miss trying out this amazing Tahchin dish. Yum!

On top of 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.


Perfect Tahchin with Crispy Perfect Tahdig


How to Easily Brew Saffron

Saffron is a staple in many Persian pantries. I grew up with my mum using saffron as a main ingredient for many of her mouthwatering dishes. Cooking Persian dishes with strong brewed saffron brings back all these beautiful heart-warming memories.

So, how do you brew saffron you’re wondering? Some may suggest brewing it with hot water, but this shocks saffron and takes away its aroma. To get concentrated brewed saffron, place some in a stainless steel pot on low heat and keep stirring so it doesn’t burn.

Attention! Saffron is very sensitive and may easily burn. You must keep it on low heat for a maximum of 2 minutes and continuously stir. Then, take the saffron thread and place it between your fingertips. It must fall apart.

Once crispy, transfer the saffrom to a pestle and mortar to grind. You can add a small sprinkle of sugar that will help to grind and turn it into powder. Add around 6 ice cubes to a teaspoon of ground saffron. Leave it aside till ice melts, then use it.


Tips and Tricks

If you do not have Basmati rice, you can use any long grain rice. I prefer to use Tilda Rice Pure Basmati. It is a gluten-free rice with a tantalizing flavor that, once cooked, fills your kitchen with a magical aroma. The rice comes out with a delicate fluffy texture.

Use a spatula, Pyrex jug, or any flat bottom pot to flatten the rice smooth it out.

Do not over-fry the chicken after saffron is added because overcooking saffron will take its aroma away.


If the pot is not steaming, open the lid. Get a kitchen towel and set it on the pot. Put the lid back on the pot and try to wrap the edges of the towel over it.

Get yourself a beautiful Always Pan from Our Place. Not only elegant, but it also has a nonstick ceramic coating that is perfect to fry the nuts and chicken. You can also try out a Perfect Pot, it works great for boiling, crisping, and steaming.

The ingredients below serve 6-8 people. If you do not want that much, you can use half of the ingredients. If you have a larger crowd, double or triple the ingredients for more yummy Tahchin.


Check out these steps!

Sauté the onions, garlic, and spices in the pan.

Sauté the onions, garlic, and spices in the pan.

Add the chicken and saffron to the pan. Then, put them aside.

Add the chicken and saffron to the pan. Then, put them aside.

Make the yogurt mixture. Start by adding the eggs.

Make the yogurt mixture. Start by adding the eggs.

Add saffron and mix.

Add saffron to the yogurt and mix.

Add the spices and mix well.

Add the spices to the yogurt mixture and mix well.

Parboil the rice for 5 minutes.

Parboil the rice in hot water for 5 minutes.

Pour 2 ladles of yogurt over the chicken.

Pour 2 ladles of yogurt over the chicken.

Pour the rest of the yogurt mixture over the rice and mix.

Pour the rest of the yogurt mixture over the rice and mix.

Start layering your pot with rice and chicken.

Add the Saffron Rice and chicken to the pot in alternating layers

Flatten the top rice layer.

Flatten the top saffron rice layer using Pyrex jug

Cook for an hour, then flip it over the serving tray.

Cook the saffron rice and chicken for an hour, then flip it over the serving tray.

Garnish with fried nuts, barberries, and sultanas. Serve and enjoy!

Garnish the rice cake with fried nuts, barberries, and sultanas. Serve and enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I serve with Tahchin?

You can serve Lebanese tabbouleh or fattoush. Try it with Persian Shirazi Salad, Persian Spinach and Yogurt, or Turkish Çoban Salatası. You can also serve a bowl of Greek yogurt.

What can I do with Saffron Rice and Chicken leftovers?

Don’t waste any! Keep them in an airtight container and leave them in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Reheat in a pot at low heat or in the microwave upon serving.

Can Tahchin made vegetarian?

Of course! Swap out the chicken with Quorn vegetarian chicken pieces.


Tahchin | Persian Saffron Rice with Chicken

Rice lovers worldwide! If you have not tried Tahchin yet, you have missed out on a wonderful dish.

Ingredients

  • Basmati rice
  • Full-fat yogurt
  • Boneless chicken thighs
  • Eggs
  • Whole lemon
  • Medium onions
  • Bay leaves
  • Cardamoms pods
  • Brewed saffron
  • Garlic cloves
  • Oil
  • Pepper
  • Salt

To garnish

  • Butter
  • Barberries
  • Sultanas
  • Pistachio flakes
  • Almond flakes

Check out the Steps


To prepare the chicken

Drizzle 1/4 cup of oil in the pot. Fry the onions for a few minutes till they become translucent. Add the crushed garlic and sauté very well.

Then, add the chicken cubes, bay leaves, cardamom pods, a teaspoon of salt, and a teaspoon of pepper. Once the chicken cubes are lightly fried, add 3 tablespoons of brewed saffron to give the chicken a nice golden look. Set the chicken aside.


To prepare the rice

Wash the rice several times until the water runs out clear. In your Perfect Pot, keep water boiling for 2-3 minutes, then add the drained basmati rice. Salt the water and parboil the rice for 5 minutes until the rice extends its size.

Hold a grain between your nail and your finger. It should be soft in the outside with a hard texture on the inside. Drain the rice a set aside.


To prepare the yogurt mix

In a big bowl, put the yogurt, eggs, oil, lemon juice, 4-5 tablespoons of brewed saffron, and mix. Add 2 teaspoons of salt and a teaspoon of pepper.

Now, add two ladles of yogurt mixture to the chicken in the pot and mixed till coated, and add the drained rice to the rest of the yogurt mixture. Mix it gently so the rice grains do not break.


To prepare the pot and cook

In a cool pot, take two ladles of rice and yogurt mixture and flatten them at the bottom of the pot. You want a layer that is 2-3 cm deep.

Set a layer of chicken mixture, another layer of rice, a second layer of chicken, and a final flat layer of rice.

Start with the pot on medium to high heat for 5 mins. Turn it down to low heat for one hour to cook fully over the steam.


For the crown

Soak barberries and sultanas in lukewarm water for 15-20 mins and drain them ahead of time. In Always Pan or any pan you have, melt the butter.

Fry sultanas first on medium heat for around 3 mins. Add the barberries for another 3 mins. Finally, add the almonds and pistachios. Fry them all together for 2 minutes. Once they are gold and crispy, they are ready.


To finalize your dish

Once rice is cooked, flip the pot upside down in the serving tray or dish. It comes out like a cake with a top layer of tahdig.

Garnish with the fried nuts. Serve and enjoy your grand dish!


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Tahchin – Persian Saffron Rice with Chicken

Prep Time 40 min Cook Time 1 hour Total Time 1 hr 40 mins

Ingredients

To garnish

Instructions

To prepare the chicken

  1. Drizzle 1/4 cup of oil into the pot. Fry the onions for a few minutes till they become translucent. Add the crushed garlic and sauté very well.

  2. Then, add the chicken cubes, bay leaves, cardamom pods, a teaspoon of salt, and a teaspoon of pepper. Once the chicken cubes are lightly fried, add 3 tablespoons of brewed saffron to give the chicken a nice golden look. Set the chicken aside.

To prepare the rice

  1. Wash the rice several times until the water runs out clear. In your Perfect Pot, keep water boiling for 2-3 minutes, then add the drained basmati rice. Salt the water and parboil the rice for 5 minutes until the rice extends its size.

  2. Hold a grain between your nail and your finger. It should be soft in the outside with a hard texture on the inside. Drain the rice a set aside.

To prepare the yogurt mix

  1. In a big bowl, put the yogurt, eggs, oil, lemon juice, 4-5 tablespoons of brewed saffron, and mix. Add 2 teaspoons of salt and a teaspoon of pepper.

  2. Now, add two ladles of yogurt mixture to the chicken in the pot and mixed till coated, and add the drained rice to the rest of the yogurt mixture. Mix it gently so the rice grains do not break.

To prepare the pot and cook

  1. In a cool pot, take two ladles of rice and yogurt mixture and flatten them at the bottom of the pot. You want a layer that is 2-3 cm deep.

  2. Set a layer of chicken mixture, another layer of rice, a second layer of chicken, and a final flat layer of rice.

  3. Start with the pot on medium to high heat for 5 mins. Turn it down to low heat for one hour to cook fully over the steam.

For the crown

  1. Soak barberries and sultanas in lukewarm water for 15-20 mins and drain them ahead of time. In Always Pan or any pan you have, melt the butter.

  2. Fry sultanas first on medium heat for around 3 mins. Add the barberries for another 3 mins. Finally, add the almonds and pistachios. Fry them all together for 2 minutes. Once they are gold and crispy, they are ready.

To finalize your dish

  1. Once the rice is cooked, flip the pot upside down in the serving tray or dish. It comes out like a cake with a top layer of tahdig.

  2. Garnish with the fried nuts. Serve and enjoy your grand dish!

Did you make this recipe?

hello and welcome 

hello and welcome 

pinit

Nelly Babazadeh

Content Creator

I'm Nelly, the recipes I share here are inspired by the people, cultures and places beloved to me. Peanutswirls represents my love for food, cooking and hosting. I hope to share with you a taste of the Middle East influnced by my upbringing in the West.

I can't wait to see what we cook together.

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