Tahchin تهچین is a traditional Persian dish which is very unique in its taste and texture – a dense dish flavored with yogurt, saffron and thick yogurt and typically layered with chicken chunks. The delicious thick golden rice crust (tahdig) formed at the bottom and around the cooked tahchin is its shining feature.
An original tahchin is stem-cooked in a pot (a non-stick one in this case) over gas or electric stove just like any other Persian mix rice; however since the amount of liquid in the rice makes its cooking behaviour a bit different and complicated, a lot of recipes advise you to “bake” the dish instead using Pyrex dishes in the oven. Well, I never went with baking style and after many years of trying and failing the traditional pot style, last summer I finally succeeded in getting it right – thanks to my beloved auntie visiting form my old hometown Shiraz.
Ingredients (serves 5-6)
- 3 chicken breasts (about half a kilo) each cut in 2-3 pieces
- 1 onion cut into quarter
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 ½ cups Basmati rice, rinsed with cold water a few times, then soaked in lukewarm water with 1 tbsp. sea salt at least 3 hours before you start cooking
- 2 ½ thick Greek-style yogurt
- 3 large eggs* (or 4 small ones)
- ¾ cup cooking oil
- ¼ teaspoon ground saffron mixed in 2 tbsp. warm water
*Some use egg yolks only to get a less sticky tahchin. I should yet try that.
Bring 9 cups of water to a rolling boil in a big non-stick pot with a capacity of 18 cups of water. Pour off the salted water from the top of your rice bowl and add the rice to your boiling pot. Let the rice boil for 5-7 minutes or until cooked at the core but not soft. For tahchin we want our rice grains to be a bit harder than normal. Drain in a fine-meshed colander and rinse with cold water. Wash the starch off the pot and put it back on the top of the hot stove to get it completely dry.
Take chicken breasts out of the yogurt mix and place them on a plate. Now transfer the drained rice to the yogurt mix and gently mix so that all rice grains are covered in yogurt-oil-eggs-saffron mix, without getting broken.
Back to your pot on the stove, turn the heat on medium and pour the remaining ¼ cup of oil in the pot and make sure the inside walls get greasy too.
Pour half your rice into the non-stick pot, then place the chicken breasts on the top of the rice evenly and gently press them down with the back of a spatula. Add the rest of the rice and flatten the surface. Cover the lid in a clean towel and put it back on the pot. After two minutes, bring down the heat to minimum and steam cook the tahchin for 90 minutes.
Remove from the heat. Take the lid off. Place a round serving plate on the top of the pot and flip the tahchin into the plate, just like when you flip a cake. Use a knife to cut through in a rectangle shapes.
An authentic well- prepared tahchin should have a reddish-golden tahdig which looks very appetizing and beautiful on its own and won’t need any kind of topping. And it should of course be very tasty, and delicious. Because of the oil content of the dish, tahchin becomes harder and sticker after spending a night in the refrigerator.
Hope you try my auntie’s tahchin style and enjoy every bite of it!
I ran into this gluten free, vegan recipe for carrot-banana-apple-walnuts muffins on Minimalist Baker and absolutely loved it. The list of ingredients may look long, but the preparation is much easier than your average cake or muffin and the result is tender, fruity sweet muffins with the added chewiness of walnuts and oats.
I tried both non-vegan (with 1 egg) and vegan (with flax eggs) versions and both turned equally nice. Actually, I was very excited to have found a substitute for egg and quite impressed by how well flax eggs worked to stick everything together in these muffins. Read the rest of this entry »
My non Iranian friends may already be familiar with Persian aash, especially from my post on Aash-e reshteh. Nevertheless, I am going to take you through some fun introductory notes on aash in general and aash sabzi Shirazi آش سبزی شیرازی in particular, using experts from e-book, A sip, A bite, A mouthful: A memoir of food & rowing up in Shiraz.
As reluctant as I am to use the term “soup” to describe aash, for fear of undermining its significant position within Iranian cuisine and culture, I nevertheless find a comparison between the two the most efficient way to describe the dish to new appetites. To this end, aash could be said to be an “honorable soup”–rich, thick and laborious to prepare. Depending on the type of aash, it is made of specific varieties of herbs, vegetables, fruits, grains and dairy products; with or without beef or lamb. Read the rest of this entry »
For this upcoming Canadian thanksgiving I looked up a Canadian recipe for salad (you guessed it, made with maple syrup) which goes well with other items on your table. It is called Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad with Mustard Dill Vinaigrette. The title pretty much gives away the ingredients, I know, but you would not know how to make it before visiting the link on Food Network!I followed the original recipe (linked above) only modified it slightly by increasing the amount of kale to 5 cups and skipping agave nectar in the sauce. I was super happy with the result – very autumnish colors, filling yet light and refreshing with a sweet-sour taste.
Happy Thanksgiving Canada!
This super easy and super fast cookie is …well, super Yummy! No butter or oil is required not even to grease the baking sheet. Yet the cookies are crisp chewy, a bit heavy yet tender – and with my recipe not too sweet either. I love them with my evening tea and sometimes with my morning coffee.
Ingredients Read the rest of this entry »