I can not believe I am already crossing off the first item from my 2013 Culinary Bucket List. Since I started it last year, several bloggers and readers have written to me saying they are now about to start their own list! You have no idea how that makes me feel.
Not only am I doing my own culinary bucket list, but so is the #SundaySupper gang, so I had to jump in and cross things off already.
I have been getting infatuated with other cultures since I really began to dig into cooking and have been researching and scouring new and authentic recipes to create. Tahdig has been on my list for quite a while. It is a Persian style of rice that has a crispy bottom, which is the best part. The word “tahdig” means “bottom of the pot”, which is exactly where the crispy layer is formed. The solid layers bright and golden and I’ve heard it’s supposed to resemble the large and wide golden dessert. It is also said that the better your tahdig is, the more praise and “ooh’s” you receive.
See, this is more of a technique than a recipe. This dish only has 4 ingredients and still creates the most unusual and addictive rice dish you will ever want. Other variations have thinly sliced potato on the bottom as the tahdig, which I can not wait to try next! I’ve also seen a spaghetti tahdig and one with sour cherries too! Read my step by step below to learn how tahdig is made.
1) In a large bowl, rinse rise several times until the water drains clear.
2) Fill bowl with water again and add a large pinch of salt. Allow rice to soak for about 20 minutes while you boil water.
*Reserve 3 tablespoons of boiling water for later use.
*I’ve read/heard different soaking times, anywhere from no soaking to overnight.
3) Bring a large pot with 4 cups of water to a boil. Drain rice and add to boiling water. Allow to cook, uncovered on medium-high heat for exactly 8 minutes (Set your timer.) Skim the foam off the top.
4) When rice is done, it should begin to puff up, be soft on the outside and hard on the inside. Drain rice and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking.
5) Using a mortar and pestle, grind a large pinch of saffron until it becomes powdery. Dissolve saffron in reserved 3 tablespoons hot water and stir with a spoon. Set aside.
6) Heat a medium size non-stick skillet on medium high heat and add oil, 3 Tb water, turmeric and saffron liquid. Gently swirl pan around so bottom is fully coated.
7) Add rice back into the pan, making sure the entire bottom is covered. Using the back of your large spoon, poke holes into the rice mound being careful not to go all the way down. Allow to cook on medium-high for 10 minutes, you should see steam coming out.
8) Cover pan lid with a kitchen towel and close pan. The towel will catch any moisture from the rice. Allow to cook for another 35 minutes. When it’s done, you should hear a sizzle and crackling sound.