Basmati Rice (Iranian)with Tahdig

July 1, 2011

Author Notes: I had this attached to the recipe for lamb stew and decided to separate as it can be used with so many different types of stews, vegetables and roasted meats. I learned this method of cooking rice years ago, I use Basmati but you can use regular long grain rice if you prefer. The rice is steamed and each grain is separate. The crunchy bottom is called tahdig and is delicious.. This method of cooking rice is so simple, no ratio of water to rice you just par cook the rice in water then finish by steaming. sdebrango

Serves: 6-8 depending on serving size


  • 3 cups Basmati rice
  • 1 tablespoon salt to soak rice then more for cooking.
  • 2 tablespoons Butter divided
  • Generous pinch saffron
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • enough vegetable oil to thinly coat the bottom of the pot
In This Recipe


  1. Put rice in bowl and rinse until water drains pretty clear. Add more water to cover rice add a tbs of salt and let rice sit for an hour.
  2. In large saucepan or dutch oven with lid(I use non stick) fill with water, add some salt and bring to a rolling boil. In small bowl combine 1/4 cup water and saffron let rest.
  3. When water is boiling drain the rice and add to the pot. Stir to separate rice and let cook uncovered for 10-15 minutes you are par cooking the rice, test a grain it should be hard in the middle. Remove from heat and drain into collander and rinse with cold water.
  4. In your pot that you cooked the rice in wipe to dry and just coat the bottom of the pan with vegetable oil and 1 tbs butter, when butter has melted and its hot add the rice, drizzle saffron water and 1 tbs of butter. Cover pot with paper towel and place lid on. Turn heat to high and let steam build up in pot it takes approximately 10 minutes, reduce heat to medium or medium/high (depending on your stove) and let cook for 45 minutes. Pay close attention you will smell the nuttiness of the tahdig forming but if you notice a burnt smell turn heat down immediately.
  5. Put a few inches of cold water in your sink, When rice is done take to sink and sit the pot in the cold water for ten-seconds this will help the rice to release. Place serving dish on top of the pot and invert. The rice should come out in one piece looks almost like a cake.
  6. Variation: Prepare rice exactly the same following steps 1-3 after you have drained the rice add the oil and butter to the pot, layer thinly sliced potato's, add the rice and cook the same way. The tahdig will have a crunchy potato crust.

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