beginner’s luck. [persian-ish rice with tahdig]

March 1st, 2021 by | comments

Ever since watching Samin Nosrat’s Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat on Netflix a few years ago, I’ve wanted to make her Persian-ish rice with tahdig. Although simple ingredient-wise, the process is somewhat intimidating. I decided to give Samin’s recipe a try over the weekend with my mom while visiting home and to our surprise, the rice turned out incredibly fluffy and flavorful, with a perfectly golden and crispy crust. Guess we’ll just call it beginner’s luck?!

persian-ish rice with tahdig
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • ½ cup Kosher salt
  • 3 Tbsp. plain yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 Tbsp. neutral-tasting oil, such as canola or vegetable oil
  1. Place rice in a bowl and rinse with cold water. Swirl vigorously with your fingers to release the starch, and change the water at least five times, until it runs clear. Once the water runs clear, let rice soak for 30 minutes.
  2. Fill a large stockpot with 4 quarts of water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. Once the water comes to a boil, salt with ½ cup kosher salt. The water should taste very salty. This is your chance to get the rice seasoned from within. Drain the rice, then add it to the pot and stir.
  4. Set a fine-mesh sieve or colander in the sink. Cook rice, stirring occasionally, until al dente, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain into the sieve, then rinse with cold water to keep rice from cooking further. Drain rice well and place in a large bowl.
  5. Remove 1 heaping cup of the rice to a small bowl and combine it with the yogurt.
  6. Set a very well seasoned 10-inch cast iron pan or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add butter and the oil. When butter melts, add rice-yogurt mixture and spread it out into a thin, even layer with a heatproof spatula.
  7. Pile remaining rice into the pan, mounding it gently toward the center. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, gently dig 6 holes into the rice down to the bottom of the pot, which will be barely sizzling. Dig 5 of the holes about 2 inches from the sides of the pan, and put one in the center. (The holes will allow steam to escape from the bottommost layer of rice and allow a crisp crust to form.) There should be enough oil in the pan that you can see it bubbling up the sides; add a little more oil along the edges of the rice if needed to see these bubbles.
  8. Continue cooking rice over medium-high heat for 8 minutes, or until evenly browned along the edges, rotating the pan a half turn after 4 minutes to ensure even browning. Wrap a lid with a kitchen towel and cover pan. Turn the heat as low as it will go and continue cooking another 45 minutes, rotating the pan a quarter turn every 10 to 12 minutes. The rice is done when it’s cooked completely through.
  9. To unmold the rice, carefully run an offset spatula or butter knife along the edges of the pan to ensure that no part of the crust is sticking. Tip out any excess fat at the bottom of the pan into a bowl, then carefully flip it onto a platter or cutting board. Serve immediately.
  10. If for any reason your rice doesn’t slip out in one piece, scoop out the rice and chip out the tahdig in pieces with a spoon.

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