Getting tahdig from kitchen to dining table is difficult with the sudden appearance of eager helpers who want a taste. In this article, find out what tahdig (ته دیگ) is and how to cook it with potatoes or bread.
What is tahdig?
Tahdig is the crispy layer of fried food at the base of the pan, usually comprising of potatoes, rice or bread. In Farsi, ‘tah’ means bottom and ‘dig’ means pan. Golden tahdig served intact is a traditional mark of a skilled cook in Iran. Try my cooking tips below to get it right the first time.
How to cook
When cooked perfectly, it is golden and crispy, but don’t worry if yours is slightly burnt or undercooked the first time. It takes practice because it cooks at the bottom of the pan so you can’t check when it is ready – even experienced cooks sometimes burn their tahdig!
My cooking tips are:
- soak the rice for a few hours before cooking to make the rice extra fluffy
- start with very hot oil before cooking on low heat to prevent sticking
- if using potatoes, slice them evenly so they cook at the same speed
- use a wooden spoon handle to put a hole in the centre of the rice for steam
- wrap your lid in a tea towel to allow the rice to steam
- health aside – the more oil, the less likely it is to burn
The recipe below shows the three ways to make rice tahdig:
- plain rice
Please note, the rice option is very crispy, which some people love but some hate. Therefore, I recommend potato or flatbread.
Once you are able to cook tahdig, try adding a little turmeric into the oil. You can also add flavour to the rice with barberries, almonds, raisins or walnuts.
How to serve
Finally, let’s explore how to serve and eat rice and tahdig. Although it can be cooked alone, it is a side dish that can accompany many main dishes. Here are some dishes you can pair it with:
- Persian Celery Stew – Koresht Karafs – خورش کرفس
- More coming soon…
- Parboil the rice (boil for less time than described in the packet instructions). Meanwhile, If using a potato, peel and slice about 7mm thick. Optional: prepare the liquid saffron by grinding the saffron into a powder (you can add a little sugar to help) and mix with 3 tbsp hot water. Leave to use later. Once the rice is cooked until edible but not too soft, drain and quickly rinse with cold water. You are going to cook to steam the rice next...
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