Make Ahead

Green Garden Herb Basmati Rice with Dill, Cilantro, Rosemary & Chive

December 19, 2016
4 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

The first part of this recipe is for a rice cooker with a removable insert. To make this recipe without a rice cooker, skip to step 8.

The beautifully fragrant and earthy aroma of this dish is universally enjoyable. It reminds me of home, my mother’s cooking, and my grandmother's humble kitchen where we made this together once upon a time to celebrate the Persian New Year. It's a wonderful way to use fresh herbs from the garden in the spring/summer months, but also a hearty and comforting dish to serve with meats and fish—or on its own in the colder months. A feel-good, vegetarian dish which is quite satisfying. In the Hindi language, “bas” means “aroma” and “mati” means “full of.” If the starting point is “full of aroma” with just the rice, imagine what happens once you add the medley of gorgeous herbs and greens. You end up with heaven in a bite!

Basil and Roses

What You'll Need
  • 2 cups uncooked basmati rice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 bunch fresh dill, roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups fresh chives, chopped
  • 1 handful fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 handful fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground saffron dissolved in 4 tablespoons hot water
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons coriander seeds (optional)
  1. Soak rice in cold water for approximately 30 minutes before cooking.
  2. Rinse rice with water, gently agitating with fingertips. Do this multiple times (3-4) until water runs clear.
  3. Fill a large nonstick pot with approximately 10 cups of water and bring to boil over high heat. Add half of the turmeric and salt to boiling water. (Don’t worry about adding too much salt, it will be drained later).
  4. Boil gently on high heat for for approximately 6-10 minutes until aldente (not fully cooked), gently stirring a couple of times to loosen any rice stuck together or stuck to the pot.
  5. While rice boils, combine all the chopped herbs you're using in a bowel in preparation to add to the rice. Note, this recipe works well with just dill, but you can get creative with your favorite herb combinations.
  6. Drain rice in a large fine mesh colander removing all liquid from pot and rinse the rice with cold water as it drains.
  7. Place the same pot back on the stove and add oil and 1/2 cup water into the pan. Add the rest of the turmeric, dissolved saffron and coriander seeds, if using, to the oil-water mixture. Temporarily increase the temperature to medium-high to get a gentle boil going for the oil while you add the other ingredients.
  8. Carefully pour half of the oil-water mixture into a bowel and reserve for later.
  9. Spread a few spatulas of plain partially cooked rice to the bottom of the pot on top of the oil-water mixture- making sure to cover the entire bottom of the pot with a packed layer of rice.
  10. Add and layer herbs followed by a layer of rice, one spatula at a time, repeatedly, creating several layers of rice and herbs, gradually forming rice into a pyramid shaped heap.
  11. Using the back of a wooden spoon, create 3 holes in the rice. This allows the steam to escape and rice to fry on the bottom creating the crunchy tahdig, while steaming the rest of the pot for light and fluffy results.
  12. Cook for 10 minutes more on medium heat to begin forming the golden crust. Cover the lid with a layer of paper towels or clean dishcloth to capture condensation
  13. Reduce heat to low and cook for another 30 minutes, then pour the set aside oil-water mixture all over the pyramid in a circular motion.
  14. Cover the pot again and cook on low heat for another 1 hour until the steam rises and the tahdig is golden.
  15. You can serve the rice two ways, with a dramatic flip that always leads to an exciting reveal (this never gets tired!), or by gently removing the rice one spatula at a time and placing it on a serving platter, then detaching the crispy crust from the bottom of the pot by using a wooden spatula.
  16. For the more dramatic flip (recommended), place a round serving platter slightly larger than the diameter of the pot. Using two oven mitts and holding the platter tightly over the uncovered pot, carefully raise and invert both platter and pot simultaneously and place on a flat surface. Remove the pot, revealing a golden cake-shaped beauty. Serve immediately and enjoy!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Basil and Roses
    Basil and Roses
  • Rose Levy Beranbaum
    Rose Levy Beranbaum
  • annemax
  • Bistra Ravenheart
    Bistra Ravenheart
  • Marielena

27 Reviews

loraleiffxi June 23, 2022
The idea of this recipe looks tasty, but I don't see any references to a rice cooker at all. Do you have a recipe specifically for a rice cooker?
Susan A. December 3, 2020
I do not own a rice cooker. I made this once - and filed it under "Family Favorites" - obviously it was successful. I attempted it again this evening and the directions without a rice cooker make no sense. Is it possible that it was re-edited and the instructions got screwed up? It clearly states that if you do not have a rice cooker skip to Step 8. However by Step 8 - the recipe is almost complete. Steps 9 and 10 are not "steps" - they are comments about how appealing the dish is. Steps 11 and 12 are directions for rinsing the rice. I hope the creator of the recipe or someone from Food52 can read through the recipe and make corrections. I have no idea how I created it once successfully without a rice cooker - I can't believe I did it with these instructions.
Basil A. December 10, 2021
Hi Susan and happy holidays!

Thank you for your feedback, it's much appreciated as I learn to fine tune my recipes. I'm not sure what happened with the last changes, but I've recently updated the recipe for instructions without a rice cooker and hope you find this version improved. I'm glad you had success with it before and hopefully than can happen again- this rice dish has been a wonderful source of comfort food for my family and I hope you have the same experience.
Susan A. December 10, 2021
Thanks for your reply. I will review the recipe and try it again!
Basil A. March 30, 2017
Thank you for all the great feedback, everyone! I hope you found the updated instructions for use without a rice cooker helpful. I just made this for the a family celebration of the Persian new year which is on the first day of spring. Thanks for sharing your experience with me and wishing you all a happy and beautiful Spring!
Marielena March 30, 2017
Thank you!
NancyFromKona March 4, 2017
Took this to a potluck and was deluged with requests for the recipe. My rice cooker has a 'sauté then simmer function' with which I was able to cook the onion until soft and sl. brown. Used up all the chive tops in the garden but still did not have a full cup so made up the difference with marjoram, tarragon and Thai basil. Put the herbs and onion into the olive oil, used them to coat the rice well before gently topping off with water because I could see that the herbs could float to the top since I did not follow the directions to boil off the water. Mine developed an awesome crust.
Sarah J. March 7, 2017
Thanks for the report, Nancy!! So glad this worked out for you.
NancyFromKona July 19, 2023
I tried to make this again in the same Japanese rice cooker I used in 2017 and it turned out slightly mushy, no tahdig, but great flavor. Sadly, I was trying to impress my soon to be son-in-law of Iranian extraction. What happened? I didn’t made a paper copy in 2017 but it appears that with editing the onion and the amount of water when using a rice cooker seems to have disappeared from the instructions. I used my usual 1:1.5 rice to water and will make it again using 1:1. Searching for a similar recipe I came across this: Persian rice cookers (available on Amazon) have variable timers unlike Japanese cookers. This allows one to create the tahdig of your dreams, they are non-stick and great for everyday Persian rice. Maybe though you want to make it on the stove with the above instructions to impress the mother-in-law because using a Persian rice cooker the rice is said to be good but not restaurant quality. I loved the original recipe so much I planted lots of chives since buying 2 cups worth at the store would be $$$. I’m getting my daughter a Persian rice cooker!
Rose L. February 28, 2017
i had something very similar at Zahav and it was amazingly delicious. i'm puzzled by the rice cooker instructions here because it says to stir every minute until the water evaporates and then cook for 45 min. to 1-1/2 hours. but to my experience, the rice cooker shuts off after all the water evaporates.
JC February 27, 2017
Do you add the onion whole or do you chop it, mince it or slice it?
Margot C. February 26, 2017
I would love to make it, but the instructions make no sense.
Sarah J. February 26, 2017
Hi there, Sorry for the confusion. We have tested this recipe with a rice cooker, and it came out well! We're trying to nail down the recipe without a rice cooker—the proportions should work, but the timing will be different. We'll get it updated as soon as we possibly can. Thank you for your patience!
Sarah J. March 7, 2017
Hi Margot,
We've updated the recipe—hope it's clearer now!
btglenn February 26, 2017
This interesting recipe should be labeled rice-cooker based. The instructions for cooking in a stovetop pot are very limited and would not help anyone who has limited experience cooking rice! Not up to 52 recipe description standards even if the result works for rice cooker owners.
margothand February 26, 2017
In step 4, the author must mean turn on the rice cooker NOT "rice quicker."
annemax February 26, 2017
This recipe is badly written, and confusing. Will someone please READ it and edit it?
Bistra R. February 20, 2017
I have a multicooker - but it cant be flipped - its cool for rice dishes though
Chanteclar February 20, 2017
Cook rice 1 to 1 1/2 hours? Must be a mistake.
Chanteclar February 20, 2017
Cook rice 1 to 1 1/2 hours? Must be a mistake.
SpaCook February 23, 2017
It has to be. Have you tried it and, if so, could you provide adjusted timing?
Marielena February 20, 2017
I don't have a rice cooker, how can I recreate this on the regular stove?
fitzie February 21, 2017
For every cup of rice, you need 1-1/2 cups liquid. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover tightly and in 17 minutes you will have tender delicious rice, If you cook longer, you will get a crust on the bottom but I can't give you any specifics on this.
Marielena February 21, 2017
Thank you fitzie.
Annette L. February 21, 2017
I think I will look up a recipe for making Persian rice. That must have instructions for the crunch part. I seem to remember that the rice gets parboiled, then placed in a pot that has oil and thin slices of potato layered on the bottom, and that you steam or cook the
rice on top, to finish it. I can't wait to try it with the herbs! This must be delicious.
SpaCook February 23, 2017
There's a great one on splendid table's website.
Chanteclar February 23, 2017
This is the way I would cook this recipe!