Crispy Persian Rice
I had some friends over for lunch the other day and i made Tachin, and by the time i finished cooking i was too tired to take photos. If it wasn't for my friend Rita (she took the photos) there would be NO PHOTOS! So a big thank you to Rita.
I have to say I have never been more impressed with a dish made with good old white rice as I am with this offering. The compliment you scrub up well comes to mind when I look at this cake-like dish. It’s a real dazzler with its beautiful, eye-catching, vibrant, yellow and colourful garnish. It is a show stopper, no less! Yet, it’s just WHITE RICE, all dressed up!
This pretty Persian dish is called Tachin, also known as crispy Persian rice. It’s main ingredients: white rice, yogurt, saffron, eggs and barberries.
However, you can fill or layer this brightly coloured rice with chicken vegetables, fish, or meat.
I chose a vegetarian filling. I also made my own version of crispy Persian rice and let me tell you it was pretty damn good.
I also didn’t use saffron (gasp), or barberries which is what the recipe I found called for. Instead, I used turmeric and sultanas, and it was still absolutely delicious, without me having to break the bank by including saffron which last time I looked was about a million bucks a kilo.
With its crispy, crunchy outside and soft, flavoursome rice inside, topped with a colourful garnish made with green herbs, pistachios and blood red pomegranate seeds, this ‘side dish’ could easily win top billing over the ‘main course’.
I will definitely be making this again and again and again. It’s honestly the perfect side.
Ingredients for the filling
3 large onions
4-6 tablespoons oil
2 large zucchinis
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic salt
A can of oil spray
2 handfuls of your favourite nuts (I used 1 handful of toasted pine nuts and 1 handful of toasted flaked almonds)
Handful of sultanas
Slow and steady wins the race with this one!
Slice the onions, and in a large frying pan heat the oil over LOW heat.
Add the onions to the pan, stirring them occasionally.
Cook the onions for roughly 25 minutes.
When the onions have cooked down and caramelized into a golden-brown colour you will know they are ready!
Pre-heat the oven to 200C
Slice zucchini into ½ cm thick circles or thicker according to your liking. Place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper and spray them (lightly) with oil.
Mix spices in a small bowl, and using a small sieve, sprinkle the spices all over the zucchini.
Cook in the oven for roughly 10- 15 min.
Seeds from ½ a Pomegranate
A handful of shelled pistachios, chopped
½ cup of finely chopped fresh herbs made up of : mint leaves, continental parsley and curly parsley
For the rice
1 tablespoon salt
360g basmati rice
3 litres of water
to turn rice into tachin dish
113ml melted butter OR 125mls oil
2 teaspoons turmeric
250g Greek yoghurt
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon salt
In a large pot, mix 1 tablespoon salt with water and bring to the boil.
Rinse the rice twice and add to boiling water.
Give it a good stir and cook rice for roughly 5-6 minutes, NO MORE.
Pre-heat the oven to 200C
I used a 21cm spring form cake tin
Butter cake tin LIBERALLY and I mean liberally (in case the large screaming capital letters weren’t enough of a clue), you don’t want the rice to stick!
Drain the water from the rice, pour the rice into a large bowl and mix it with the egg yellow, oil (or butter) yoghurt, salt and turmeric.
Pour half the rice into the cake tin, and with the back of a spoon, smooth and even the surface. Arrange the zucchini on top using all the zucchini. Place the caramelised onion on top of zucchini, mix nuts and sultanas in a small bowl and spoon on top evenly.
Pour the remainder of the rice, smooth and even out with back of spoon, then press down to make sure it’s nice and compact.
Cover the cake tin SUPER TIGHT with aluminium foil so no steam escapes. I baked the tachin for 80min.
Take out of the oven, don’t remove the aluminuim foil. Allow it to cool down to room temperature.
Remove the aluminium foil and turn cake tin upside down onto a serving dish.
Garnish with garnish ingredients!