Persian rice

persian rice
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Rice cooked the Persian way with saffron and served with many dishes especially stews.



Step by Step method

  1. Wash rice a few times until the water looks clear.  This is a very important step in cooking Persian rice.  Essentially, what you are doing is removing the starch from the rice. 
  2. Add some salt and let the rice soak for a few hours.  It is generally strongly believed that rice should rest over night for best results.
  3. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil.  
  4. In the mean time in a mortar add sugar and saffron and grind until saffron turns into a powder.
  5. Once your water starts boiling, take 2 tablespoons of the hot water and add it to the saffron and sugar powder.
  6. Salt the boiling water.
  7. Place the rice in the boiling water and cook for about 10 minutes.
  8. Make sure that you stir the rice a couple of times from bottom up during the cooking time. 
  9. Once the 10 minutes are close taste your rice. It should be soft, not hard or mushy. It should be longer than it was before it went into the pot, but it should not be moments from falling apart.
  10. While your rice cooks, place yogurt in a mixing bowl.
  11. Add  saffron water to it and mix well. 
  12. Once your rice is ready drain in a colander and give a quick rinse with cold water to stop additional cooking.
  13. Add about 4 to 5 tablespoons of rice to the yogurt mixture. Mix well.
  14. Add a very thin layer of water to the bottom of the pot. Essentially, what you are looking for is a thin layer that covers the whole bottom of the pot. 
  15. Add 1 tablespoon of oil, more if you are using a bigger pot. 
  16. Give it all a shake so that the water and oil get a little mixed up. This is the first step in making Tahdig.
  17. Cover the bottom of the pan with rice mixed with yogurt.  
  18. Pile up the rest of the rice on top in the shape of a pyramid.
  19. With the back of your spatula make 4-5 holes, making sure that you don’t go through the rice and yogurt mix. This is done for steaming purposes.
  20. Cover and cook on high for 10 minutes.
  21. After 10 minutes place a towel over the lid of the pot, cover, and cook on medium low for 1 hour. At this point you are steaming your rice.
  22. There are two ways to serve Persian rice. 

Here is the first way:

  1. Place your serving dish on top of the pot.
  2. Flip the pot while holding the dish against it firmly.
  3. Remove the pot and voila’! Look at the fabulous color of that Tahdig. Yummy!

The second way of serving Persian rice:

  1. Place the rice in a platter.
  2. Remove the tahdig and cut it in small pieces and placing it in dish.  Usually when people plate the rice this way they will place some rice mixed with saffron on top for decoration purposes. This is really simple to do. 

Here is how you would do it:

  1. Instead of adding  all of the saffron water to the yogurt, reserve about 1 teaspoon of it. 
  2. Add a couple of spoons of rice and mix well. 
  3. Place the mixture on top of the rest of the rice.
  4. Then proceed with the cooking process.
  5. Once your rice is ready, remove the rice with saffron from the top of the pot and place in a bowl.
  6. Plate the rest of the rice and then place the saffron rice on top.

Tips & variations

  • The rule of cooking rice is 3 cups of water per cup of rice.

  • It is best to not use yogurt that it is too sour for this recipe.

  • Adding yogurt and saffron makes really yummy Tahdig!