PERSIAN RICE (TAH DIG)
Persian Rice is probably the most beautiful looking rice dish that I have come across. The delicious layer of golden brown rice covering the soft cooked rice is a delight to see and eat.
I love watching shows centred around food, obviously. Shows that have food along with a little bit of travel around the world is my ultimate comfort. That’s when I stumbled upon Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. Did that name interest me ? To be honest, I found it really peculiar. It was just an assortment of words; nothing great about it, I thought. I couldn’t have been more wrong and that I realised by just watching the trailer. Those 4 words, according to the creator and narrator of the show are the basis of food. And come to think of it, YES. Without salt, or fat, or acid, or heat there really isn’t any dish. Samin Nosrat, the creator of this show also has a cookbook of the same name. In the heat episode of the series, Samin Nosrat and her mother make this interesting rice. I wanted to check it out, but I kept putting it off until I eventually forgot about it. That is, until I stumbled onto this article, and I immediately decided that I was going to make it the very next day.
Preparing the rice
The author of this article along with Samin illustrate the making of this dish in the most amazing manner. While I was thinking that this could be disastrous for me, once again I was proved wrong. Persian rice is as easy to make as it is to finish an entire batch. The first thing to keep in mind while making this dish is in the very first step. Salt your water heavily, and don’t worry about your rice getting salty. Because this rice is only going to stay in the water for 6-8 minutes. And the next thing is, don’t skimp out on butter or oil. They are the key ingredients to the way this rice turns out. Lastly, serve it with a delicious side dish, because this rice deserves it.
If you don’t have yoghurt available, use hung curd. Take 1/4 cup of curd in a muslin or cheese cloth, and let it hang for an hour. Use the almost waterless curd in place of yoghurt. Use a shallow pan for easier access.
Persian Rice (Tah Dig)
- 2 Cups Basmati Rice
- 8 Cups Water
- 2 Tbsps Greek Yogurt or Plain Yogurt See notes
- 3 Tbsps Unsalted Butter
- 3 Tbsps Vegetable oil
- Saffron A pinch
- In a wide bottomed pan, boil 8 cups of water. Salt the water heavily as this is the only time we will be seasoning the rice with salt. While the water is boiling, wash the rice under running water until the water starts to run clear.
- Once the water starts boiling, add the washed and drained rice to the water. Cook for 6-8 minutes or until the rice becomes al dente.
- Remove the pan from heat, and drain all the water. Pour cold water over the rice to stop the cooking process.
- Divide the rice, and to one half, add the yoghurt.
- If using saffron, add the saffron too, and mix it well.
- In a pan, heat oil and ghee together. Swirl the pan such that the butter coats it well.
- Once all the butter has melted, in medium heat, add the yoghurt mixed rice and pack it in well. Using a spatula, level the rice equally. I was too excited in this step so I could not take a proper picture.
- Check if there's enough oil visible on the edges. If there isn't, add a little more oil. Once you have checked that, now add the rest of the rice in a sloping on the sides manner like shown in the picture. It should look like a mountain with more rice in the centre.
- Using a solid round handle, make 5 holes in the rice mound. These will allow air to enter and exit, which will help in the browning of the rice at the bottom without burning.
- Cook the rice on medium flame for 13-15 minutes. Check the sides for browning. Lower the heat after 15 minutes and cook for another 10-15 minutes on low heat. By this time the sides will start to become visibly golden. Run a rubber spatula or a knife along the edges before unmoulding the rice.
- Keep a plate the size of the circle that the rice is in, and flip the pan carefully. Cut into the rice and serve it hot with side dishes of your choice.