Tahdig or taadig is the crusty bit at the bottom of the rice. There isn’t really a name for it in english AND it’s pretty unique to Persian cooking. It’s completely delicious and I guarantee everyone will want it. When my children were little they used to almost fight for the last piece of tahdig…. it’s that delicious.You can make Tahdig with a few different things but in this recipe Im going to explain how to make it using potatoes.Once made, you can either serve the Tahdig separately or use the crispy potatoes to add some decorative touch to your rice dish.
~WHAT YOU WILL NEED~
- A heavy bottomed non stick saucepan with a lid.
- A padded lid … I wrap and secure a teatowel around the lid.
- A medium-sized potato thinly sliced
- Hot water
- Liquid saffron
- Having boiled the rice in water until its soft to bite ( see how to make ‘perfect Persian Rice’) drain it and place to one side.
- Use a good non stick saucepan and add a little oil, a desert spoon of butter and melt.
- Add a few drops of liquid saffron and stir in or swirl it in the pan until its infused.
- Then add a little water, empty into a cup and put to one side.
- Returning to the saucepan, add about 2 tablespoons of good vegetable oil, sunflower oil is good and heat.
- Add a drop or two of liquid saffron.
- Turn up the heat to full and add the sliced potatoes and allow to sizzle a little for a few minutes.
- Then spoon the rice on top.
- Using a wooden spoon, just go around the edge, pushing the rice away from the side of the pan to avoid too much crisp rice… you only really want the bottom to become crispy.
- Pour on most of the oil, butter and water you put to one side earlier … you should see some steam rising now.
- Once you see some steam, cover with a padded lid ( I use a teatowel wrapped securely around the lid) this helps absorb any condensation and prevents it from dripping back onto the rice.
- Turn the heat down to the lowest setting and leave for about 3/4 of an hour to an hour. You might have to experiment a little as it depends on your heat settings.
- When your rice is ready, spoon the rice onto a dish until you reach the bottom of the pan. Then carefully remove the potatoes.
~Now you have ‘TAHDIG SIBZAMINI’ … WELL DONE!~
Nooshi joonet . Enjoy
This rice dish is traditionally eaten at norooz, the Persian new year but why not eat other times too because it’s too delicious not to! In this recipe I use gluten free noodles because I have coeliacs disease, an allergy to Gluten but if you can substitute them with wheat noodles.
~~RESHTEH POLOU OR PERSIAN NOODLE RICE~~
- Basmati rice 1 cup per serving
- 1 handful of reshteh per three servings For coeliacs use rice noodles or gluten-free spaghetti.
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 1 tablespoon of oil
- 1 small onion
Follow the recipe for making Persian rice to step 3 and then place to one side.
- Rinse the rice until the water runs clear and then pre soak for at least 2 hours in salted water.
- Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add a teaspoon or 2 of salt according to your taste and then add the rice.
- Allow to bubble away until the rice becomes soft to bit. You should see the rice grains grow in length but dont allow them to become fluffy.
- Now drain and rinse and place to one side to finish draining.
- Meanwhile break the noodles into pieces. It doesn’t matter what size
- Chop and gently fry the onion in the butter and oil and add the noodles until golden
- Combine the rice and noodles in one pan as from step 4 and continue through the rest of the instructions to step 14.
- Some people like to add cinnamon and raisins which is delicious and you can sprinkle these on just before serving.
Lubia Polou is a complete meal in itself with the tangy taste of limes and the sweetness of cinnamon. Completely gluten-free and a great meal for kids. You can make it with lamb or minced lamb or beef, which ever you prefer but this recipe uses minced beef. Simply replace with the meat of your choice.
Lubia Polou is ideal for lunch or dinner and is a balanced ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ dish. I wish I could capture the smell in my kitchen right now, package it up and sell it!
- 400 gr’s minced beef ( or small cubes of lamb or minced lamb)
- 4 Cups of basmati rice
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic chopped
- 1 packet of fresh green beans ( you can used tinned or frozen ) cut into inch length
- 1 tin of tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon of advieh
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of ground lime powder or 2 tablespoons of lime juice.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- 1 small cup of liquid saffron
- A little vegetable oil
~To make the taadig~
- 4 good tablespoons of natural yoghurt
- 1 teaspoon of saffron liquid
- 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- Thoroughly wash and re soak the rice in salted water for at least 2 hours beforehand.
- Rinse and leave to drain.
- Put a little oil in a fry pan and begin to brown the onion.
- When becoming a little golden, add the mince and garlic, salt and pepper and continue to fry until brown.
- Add the green beans, tomatoes, cinnamon, 3/4 spoon of advieh, lime powder and a cup of water. Mix well.
- Bring to the boil, cover and turn down the heat. Allow to simmer for about 30 mins or until the green beans are soft. You may need to add a little more water depending upon your heat setting.
- Meanwhile boil up a large pan of water and add 1-2 teaspoons of salt according to your taste.
- When boiling, add the rice and leave to bubble away for a few minutes until the rice has expanded and is soft to bite.
- Remove from the heat, drain and rinse in tepid water. Put the side to continue draining.
- Now prepare to make the taadig and bring it all together ~ Your meat should be almost cooked. Your rice is standing by!
- Take 4 tablespoons of yoghurt and add 1/2 teaspoon of liquid saffron and 3 tablespoons of rice. Mix well.
- In a large pan, add 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil and heat.
- Add the rice and yoghurt mix. It should sizzle a little.
- Add a layer of rice, then a layer of meat and finally another layer of rice.
- Sprinkle the last of the advieh, a touch of cinnamon and either a little butter or ghee.
- Cover with a padded lid ( a lid securely wrapped in a tea towel) this finishes the cooking process and prevents condensation from dripping back onto the rice.
- About 1/2 hour before serving pour on remaining the liquid saffron, cover and leave to cook on a low heat for about 40 mins.
- Spoon the rice onto your serving dish, and serve the taadig on a separate dish.
Serve with a fresh salad, a dish of sabzi khordan and naan or flat bread like pitta.
~Nooshi Joonet~ Love life, eat well and cook Persian~
Another of our favorite rice dishes Sabzi polou is easy to make and served with chicken, fresh herbs and salad it makes a great nutritious and gluten-free meal. We eat the traditional persian way with a sofreh, it’s like a table-cloth on the floor, unless we have guests when we sit at the table. The children love it! It’s a bit like having a picnic indoors!
Taadig is the crusty rice bottom. I have used potatoes in this recipe but you could use flat or unleavened bread. We rarely do because I have Coeliacs Disease, an allergy to gluten found in wheat.
SABZI POLOU BA MORGH
This recipe serves 4.
Ingredients for the rice:
- 4 cups of basmati rice
- 4 handfuls of dried dill
- 1-2 teaspoons of salt ( according to taste)
- vegetable oil
- 1 thinly sliced potato for the taadig
- 1/3 small cup or egg cup of liquid saffron
- Pre soak the rice in salted water for at least 2 hours
- Drain the rice and rinse well under running cold water and put to one side.
- Take a large pan, add plenty of water and bring to the boil.
- Add salt. If you like your rice a little salty add 1.5 – 2 teaspoons. Otherwise add 1 teaspoon.
- I always add a few drops of liquid saffron to the boiling water also but this is optional.
- When the water is boiling, add the rice and allow to boil.
- Add 3- 4 handfuls of dill. I have a medium size hand!
- The rice will swell and you should see them grow in length. Be careful not to let the rice become too soggy. You want the rice to be ‘al dente’ or soft to bite.
- When ‘al dente’ remove from the heat and drain.
- Lightly rinse the rice again and put to the side.
- Meanwhile place a non stick pan on the heat, add a few tablespoons of vegetable oil and a few drops of saffron and mix.
- Take the thinly sliced potato’s and add them to the bottom of the pan. They should sizzle a little. Be careful not to burn yourself.
- Add the rice now
- Take a spoon with holes in and lightly pour on about a tablespoon of oil
- Cover with a lid wrapped in a clean tea towel and leave to cook for about 1.5 hours on the lowest heat setting you can. Please be careful and make sure the tea towel is secure to avoid risk of it catching alight.
- When the cooking time is finished pour the rest of the liquid saffron over the rice. Then take your serving dish (usually a large flat dish or tray) and place over the top of the pan and quickly turn upside down and your rice will come out as in the picture above. Alternatively spoon it onto your serving dish and arrange your crispy potatoes around or over the rice or simply serve the taadig on a separate dish.
I have only made enough for two but just increase the amount of chicken you use if you are cooking for more
- 3-4 Chicken breasts
- 2 teaspoons of liquid saffron
- salt and pepper to taste
- A knob of butter
- Heat your oven to 200 c
- Heat a little oil in a pan and add the chicken pieces.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper
- Fry until golden
- Place some tin foil in an oven dish and add the chicken
- Pour a few teaspoons of liquid saffron over the chicken and add a knob of butter to each chicken piece.
- Wrap the foil around the chicken and cook in the oven for about 25 mins. This will vary according to the size of the chicken pieces you use.
- Half way through cooking time, remove from the oven and pour the liquid over the chicken again to keep it moist.
- Remove from the oven and pour the remaining liquid over the chicken before serving.
Nooshi joonet. Enjoy
I love making these all in one pot meals. Once it’s in the pot you have time to tidy up, prepare the table and if you’re lucky, to relax with a pot of chai before you eat and Tah-chin ba morgh is the perfect meal for this. Most of the work is in the preparation and once it’s all in the pot you are free to do other things.
You can make Tah-chin either on the cooker in pan or in a dish in the oven. I’m going to take you through the pan method but if you prefer, place your ingredients in a pre greased, large, deep oven proof dish and cook for about an 1 hour to an 90 minutes on 250 c for about 90 minutes – 2 hours.
- 3 cups of basmati rice.
- 1 large onion
- 350 gr’s Chicken boneless breast pieces
- 1 cup or approx 300 ml’s of mast or natural yoghurt
- 4 eggs
- 1 small cup od concentrated liquid zafaran
- salt and pepper to taste.
- barberries ( optional)
- Skin and trim the chicken breasts or pieces and cut into medium size pieces.
- Take a desert spoon of lime juice , a pinch of salt, mix well and pour over the chicken and then keep in the fridge for a few hours before using.
- Beat the eggs yolks
- Combine the eggs yolks with the rest of the yogurt, add a pinch of salt and 2 teaspoons of concentrated zafaran liquid.
- Pre soak the rice a few hours before you intend to cook in salted water.
- About an hour before cooking, rinse your barberries, place in a drainer and put to one side.
- Rinse the rice and put to one side
- Boil up a large pan of water, add a teaspoon of salt, a drop or two of zafaran and a teaspoon of butter.
- When boiling add the rice
- Keep the rice boiling until it becomes soft to bite. The rice should become long but not fluffy.
- Remove from the heat and drain.
- Rinse the rice lightly. Put to one side.
- Chop an onion and fry in a pan until it starts to go change colour.
- Now take the chicken and add to the pan, add a pinch of salt and fry until golden.
- Remove from the chicken from the pan and put to one side.
- Take the barberries now and place them in a frying pan and heat without oil or water. This will cook off any remaining water from their rinse. You should see a little steam. When the steam is finished, add a little oil and fry gently, then add the zafaran and allow to bubble away for a minute. Remove from the heat and put to one side.
- Take a large pan with a lid.
- Place a few tablespoons of oil in the pan and heat.
- Add a few drops of the saffron liquid and mix it into the oil.
- Now add the yoghurt mix you put aside earlier and put it in the pan with the oil.
- Add a layer of rice and press down into the yoghurt
- Add a layer of chicken and then another layer of both yoghurt and rice and continue until all the ingredients have been used.
- After you add each layer, press down gently before you add the next.
- Cook on a low heat for about 90 minutes to 2 hours. The longer you leave it the better the taa dig will be.
To turn it out for serving you can do this two ways:
- Place your serving dish over the top of the pan and turn upside down. If it the rice gets stuck in the pan wait a few minutes and gently tap on the bottom of the pan. or
- Remove the rice from the pan with a spoon onto your serving dish. Mixing in your barberries in the saffron as you go. Then remove the taadig separately when you come to it.
Baghali Polou or Broad bean and Dill Rice is an aromatic rice dish to be eaten along with fish, chicken or lamb shanks. This is one of my personal favourites. Easy to make and impressive for dinner parties.
- 3 cups of basmati rice (follow this link for instructions to step 8 )
- A bowl of shelled broad beans
- A good handful of dill dried or fresh.
- Follow the link above to step 8 but if you’re using dried dill add it at step 5
- If you’re going to make this polou with taadig then slice the potatoes
- Add some oil and butter to a large heavy bottomed pan and melt.
- Add a teaspoon of the za’faran and stir into the butter and oil
- Add the sliced potatoes, covering the pan
- Begin to spoon in the rice. If you’re using fresh dill add it now, try to mix it evenly with the rice but be careful not to damage the grains.
- Add a desert spoon or two of butter or ghee and cover with a lid. Wrap a tea towel around the lid, be careful to secure all parts of the tea towel to avoid any risk if it catching alight.
- Cook on a low heat for about an hour.
- After about 3/4 of an hour add the broad beans, cover and leave for about 20 minutes.
- Pour on the za’faran infusion and serve.
Nooshi joonet. Enjoy
There are so many varieties on this dish you can vary it to suit your own tastes. The basic ingredients are lentils, meat, dates and raisins but you can add sliced almonds too and I often add orange peel which makes it a little bit more special. Completely gluten-free and very ‘moreish’. Full of protein, economical and delicious.
~~ADAS POLOU OR PERSIAN LENTIL RICE ~~
- 3 cups of basmati rice
- 1 onion
- 400 gm’s minced meat or small pieces of lamb
- 3 0r 4 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
- 2 teaspoons of advieh
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1 cup of brown lentils
- 1 cup of raisins
- 1/2 cup of chopped dates
- a handful of sliced almonds ( optional)
- the grated peel of one orange (optional but not usual)
- a small cup of liquid saffron
- a little oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare the za’faran or liquid saffron
- If you use lamb rather than minced meat, cut the lamb into small pieces no bigger than your finger nail.
- wash the lentils and cook until soft
- chop the onion and crush the garlic
- remove the stones and chop the dates into small pieces
- If you are going to add orange peel, cook the slithered orange peel in a pan of water and sugar to make it sweet.
- thoroughly wash the rice and pre soak for at least 2 hours before cooking
- In a large pan boil some water and add salt and a drop of the liquid saffron
- When boiling add the rice and cook until soft enough to bite.
- Drain, rinse and put to one side.
- Meanwhile gently fry the onion in a little oil until it becomes transparent
- Add the meat and crushed garlic and brown
- Add salt, pepper, turmeric, cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of the advieh
- Cook the lentils in some salted water for 10 minutes, then in a frying pan add the raisins, dates and orange peel in a little oil and put to one side.
- Pour some oil into a large heavy bottomed pan and heat
- Add the first layer of rice
- Now add a layer of the meat mix and continue adding layers. You should begin and end with a layer of rice. I usually make 3 rice layers in total.
- Pour on the saffron or za’farn infusion.
- Add a spoon of butter or ghee.
- Cover the lid of the pan with a tea towel to prevent any steam from dripping back on to the rice and making it wet.
- Cook on a low heat for between 60 – 90 mins.
Serve with a dish of mixed herbs or sabzi khordan, or a mixed salad, mast or natural yoghurt and naan.
Nooshi joonet . Enjoy
This a sweet rice dish, an easy and quickly prepared desert which can eaten warm in the winter or cold in the summer. It’s completely gluten-free and you can decorate it any way you wish, add a few strands of za’faran, fruit or nuts or both, sprinkle with powdered cinnamon. Kids love it and a tempting dish for those who are convalescing.
- 1/2 litre of milk
- 50 gr’s rice flour
- 100 gr’s caster sugar
- 2 tablespoons of rose-water
- Heat the milk in a pan
- Add the rice flour, sugar and rose-water and stir
- Continue to stir until the milk boils and thickens
- Serve in individual dishes and decorate as you please.
Kalam Polou or cabbage rice is another family favourite in my house. It’s economical to make, nutritious and a great way to use what is usually a fairly unexciting vegetable. Plus kids love it … which is always a bonus and a testimony in itself!
- 3 cups or 400 gr’s of rice
- 400 gr’s of minced beef or lamb
- 1 medium cabbage diced
- 1 large onion
- 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
- 1 good tablespoon of tomatoe paste
- a good pinch of ground za’faran
- 1-2 tablespoon of lime juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- a little oil
- Thoroughly wash the rice and soak in salted water for about 2 hours before needed.
- Chop the onion
- Remove a few leaves from the cabbage, enough to line the bottom of the pan you will cook the rice in and put aside. Chop the rest of the cabbage but remove the hard stalky pieces, rinse and put aside
- prepare a little cup of za’faran infusion
- Par boil the rice in the method described here to stage 8 and put to one side
- Fry the chopped onions in a little oil until transparent
- Add the ground meat and fry until brown
- Add salt and pepper to taste and cook until the ingredients are golden
- Add the turmeric, tomatoe paste, lime juice, a small cup of boiling water and most of the za’faran infusion leaving a few drops aside. Mix in well and allow to bubble away while you cook the cabbage.
- In a separate pan, fry the cabbage in a little oil on a medium heat for about 5-10 mins until soft
- Add to the meat and onions and mix in well.
- Add another small cup of water and allow to cook until it has reduced.
- In a large deep heavy bottomed, non stick pan with a lid, heat some oil.
- Add a few drops of the za’faran and mix, remove from the heat and line the pan with the cabbage leaves you put to one side earlier
- Now add layers of rice and meat mixture starting and finishing with a layer of rice
- Using the back of a wooden spoon, ease the rice away from the sides of the pan using the end of the spoon make a few holes in the rice.
- Add a desert spoon of butter or ghee to the top of the rice
- Place a covered lid on the pan and cook on a low heat for about an 90 mins. This will form a smashing taadig.
Serve with sabzi khordan or mixed green herbs, salad, mast or natural yoghurt and naan.
Nooshi joonet . Enjoy
Sabzi is one of the great characteristics of Persian cuisine. It refers to the leafy part part of the herb and is used both in Khoreshts for flavour and bulk and in sabzi khordan as an accompliment to meals. Some herbs are easy to grow yourself such as mint, and coriander and there’s nothing more satisfying than picking herbs fresh from your own garden. However I haven’t had much luck with tarragon here in the UK. Sabzi is always best fresh but this isn’t always possible and it’s difficult to produce enough to meet all your needs. A great alternative is sabzi khoshk or dried herbs and most of these are easily sourced and available in nearly all supermarkets. When using dried herbs its advisable to soak the herbs before use to ensure maximum flavour. You can buy almost all the dried herbs you need for each dish you want to make from an Iranian Grocery store. If you want to make a persian omelette for example, look for Sabzi Kukoo.
For a list of the herbs you need for Persian recipes follow this link
Parsely or jafari You may know that parsley is native to Mediterranean land and has been used by the ancient Greek and Romans. What you may not know is that Persians have cultivated and used parsley in a wide variety of dishes for thousands of years. Parsley is part of many herb mixes of Persian cooking such as Sabzi polow, Ghormeh sabzi, Aash, Karafs and Kuku herb mixes.
Dill weed or shivid is extremely aromatic and is mainly used for food seasoning in many countries around the world. Persians, however, have used dill weed in a unique way in rice dishes such as shevid polou (Dill and rice mix) and Baghali polou (broad beans and rice). It is also mixed with other herbs as part of preparing other delightful meals like sabzi polou (a rice dish), khoreshte karafs (a stew) and kuku e sabzi (vegetable omlette).
Coriander or Gheshniz. Corriander is native to Iran and easily found in any supermarket across the globe. It’s also easy to grow here in the UK. It has a distinctive musky smell and is used in salads, and for Ghishniz polou and kuku. No persian kitchen would be without it is some form, either fresh or dried.
Fenugreek or shanbalileh is one of the world’s oldest and widely used medicinal herbs. It has a variety of attributes and is used for increasing libido in men and as an aphrodisiac generally. The seeds have to be ground and can be used to make tea, for fevers, to reduce menstrual pain and treat skin infection. The leaf of the fenugreek is high in iron and helps with respiratory and sinus problems. In persian cooking it’s used in Aash ( soup) and in khoreshts such as ghormeeh sabzi.
Tarragon or tarhoon is again heralded for having many health benefits. Its used for the relief of stomach cramps, toothache, menstrual pain and as a cure for bile and high blood pressure. It’s a vital herb in the Persian diet, used on its own or with pickles torshi and in khoreshts. It has a peppery aniseed taste and is grown easily in Iran although I haven’t had much success growing this myself.
Mint or nanar is another vital. This is very easily grown yourself and spreads rapidly so once you start to grow it, you shouldn’t ever have a problem with quantity again. Used in a variety of dishes from must o khiar a yoghurt and cucumber side dish to chai tea. Its eaten with meals on its own, mixed into salads, and as one of the many herbs needed in khoreshts. You can also buy ab nanah or mint water. I always keep a bottle at hand as its great for stomach ailments and indigestion. I have found it really useful if by some accident I have eaten something glutenous…. it helps relieve the cramps.
Sweet Basil or reyhan is widely grown all over the world and a favoured herb of the Italians. However was originally native to Iran and was grown there over 5,000 years ago. It has a sweet pungent taste, is easily grown at home on your kitchen window sill or in the green house during colder months and in your garden during the summer. It can be frozen and kept for several months. Health benefits are numerous: asthma and diabetes and as an antiviral to name a few. Sweet basil is a great compliment to all the peppery herbs in sabzi khordan and is widely used in many recipes.
Cress or shahi in contrast to basil has a peppery taste. High in iron, calcium and folic acid its a great immune booster as well as a stimulant, a diuretic and good for the digestion. In the east it’s often marketed as a sexual stimulant for men .. I can’t verify that! On the minus side, it is known to cause cystitis in some women because of its strong alkaline properties. Cress is fairly widely used in persian cooking for its strong flavour. It makes a great addition to sabzi khordan and can be easily grown at home in pots or in your garden. If you buy cress, please ensure you wash it thoroughly as commercial growers use animal waste to promote its quick growth.
Leek chives or tareh are from the onion family and have a distinct onion garlicy taste. It’s the green hollow stems that are used both in cooking and for sabzi khordan. Leek chives are so easy to grow at home. Once planted they are prolific and will sprout up all over your garden. They require very little attention and can be chopped and frozen to see you through the winter months for cooking with. Health wise they are very similar to garlic but less strong and are thought to be good for the circulation.
Radish or torabeh is a wonderfully colourful addition to sabzi khordan and Salad Olivieh. The skin is bright pink in colour and white inside and it really compliments the range of green herbs both in appearance and texture. The texture is moist and crunchy amidst all the softness of the herbs. Radishes are easily available from your supermarket all year-round. The radish is a root vegetable, easily grown in your garden during the summer months. There are a huge variety to choose from. Persian radishes are also easily grown here in the UK. They are slightly more peppery than european radishes. The only problem I’ve had growing my own is a lack of consistent sunlight, hence the end result is a little smaller than I would expect to have found in Iran. Medicinal benefits include protection against coughs and colds and general infections and as a cure for constipation.
Shallots or musi are from the onion or piaz family and available in most suppermarkets globally. Slightly sweeter, firmer and harder than an onion shallots are smaller in size. shallots are a natural inhabitant of Iran and generally favoured above the onion because of their whiteness and strong taste. They are so hard that they often need to be soaked before the can be used. They are usually eaten with kebab and used to make ma’ast musir.
Sabzi khordan literally means ‘ eating greens’ and refers to a collection of herbs and vegetables that are traditionally served with lunch and dinner. Sabzi khordan is usually made up from the herbs above but it can be whatever you want it to be, what ever is available to you and seasonal.
To go with the herbs it would be traditional to add walnuts or gerdu and feta cheese or panir. The walnuts are usually soaked in water before serving to soften them.
If you are having a dinner party and want to prepare your sabzi khordan dish before hand, you can cover the herbs with a damp paper towel and add the walnuts and feta immediately before serving.
Sabzi khordan offers a light and refreshing side dish to main meals and is rich in nutrients and vitamins. It’s also a colourful addition to your table with the greens and pink radishes.
Iranian restaurants often feature ‘sabzi khordan’ as a starter ( grr… a personal irritation)
Before you begin to think about cooking any Persian rice dish, there are a few essential things you need to know about rice.
Polou or Chello?
- In it’s uncooked form rice is called berenge.
- Chello is rice that has been soaked in salted water and par boiled. Polou is rice that has been through the previous stage of boiling and is then steamed. Polou ( if you get it right) is fluffy separate grains of rice and is not sticky.
- Kateh is rice that has been cooked in boiling water until the water has disappeared. This is a little wetter and can be a little sticky.
- Dami is like kateh but has other ingredients added like Estamboli Polou or Addas polou.
- Taadig is the crust which forms at the bottom of the pan if you cook the rice long enough over a low heat.
- There are many different grades of rice and you need a medium to good quality. You can buy many cheaper grades of rice but you will need to experiment with the amount of time you soak it and boil it for.
- Always, always wash the rice in water under a running tap until you see the water run clear. It carries a lot of dust and sometimes other things! Although with good quality rice the ‘other’ things shouldn’t be an issue.
- With most recipes you will need to pre soak the rice. There are a few exceptions. The soak time will depend on the quality of the rice you use. You can experiment with other brands.
- I recommend ‘Mahan’ or ‘Safar’ which is available in most Iranian grocery stores but there are some good alternatives such as ‘Tilda’.
Dont worry if the uncooked rice isn’t brilliant white. Larger commercial companies sometimes bleach the rice to make it look more attractive. Usually though it’s a little yellowish in colour but it will turn white when cooked.
Rice cooker V traditional method?
A rice cooker is a free-standing electrical appliance for cooking rice. The traditional method of cooking rice is time-consuming and requires your focused attention throughout the whole process. A rice cooker simplifies the process by automatically adjusting the temperature and timing and leaves you free to do other things. Once you have added the correct amount of water, it will need no further attention.
It’s not an essential to have a rice cooker but it sure is handy. If you practice, the rice you produce from your rice cooker can be every bit as delicious as the results you get from the traditional long method. It’s even possible to make polou with additional ingredients in it.
I can’t personally recommend any particular brand and I’ve owned many rice cookers. They come in a range of sizes and that is probably the most important consideration to think about. In the UK rice cookers cost roughly from £25 upwards. They are easily found in electrical stores, some supermarkets and any good Iranian Grocery store will stock them.
My personal preference is the traditional method when possible. I use my rice cooker when I’m tired or feeling lazy, need space on my cooker or when I havent got enough time.
You can cook rice in a number of ways. The two most favored methods are boiling and then par boiling and steaming which is what we usually do when we are cooking rice the Persian way. It’s a little more labour intensive but I think the results are much better: the grains are separate and elongate during the cooking process to produce an end result you will be proud to serve to your family and guests.
However you have to use the right rice….. please don’t expect a good result from just any old ‘uncles’ rice. It has to be basmati rice and even then there are different grades of basmati rice so choose a high-grade and you won’t go wrong. In the UK ‘Tilda’ rice is available from all supermarkets and this would be my rice of choice.
Next it’s really essential to rinse and pre soak the rice. Place 1cup of rice per person (and I always do one extra) in a bowl of water and swish it round gently and you might be surprised at just how murky the water becomes. This is rice dust and it will make your rice sticky and unpleasant so, AND even worse it’s starchy and therefore calorie laden… so keep rinsing the rice until the water becomes clear. Then soak it in salted water for at least two hours before you begin the cooking process. The salt helps the rice to preserve its shape and adds flavour. After two hours, you might be amazed at how much the rice has swollen.
Note the difference in size and colour
~~PERFECT PERSIAN RICE~~
Please note: before you begin please read my notes on ‘ What you need to know about rice’
~Equipment you will need~
- A large heavy bottomed non stick pan with a lid.
- A large mesh sieve
- A tea towel to wrap around the lid. Please be sure you secure it safely to avoid any risk of it catching fire.
- Prepare an infusion of saffron ( za’faran) as described in ‘Saffron and what to do with it’
- If you want a good ‘ Tadig’ ( the crispy rice crust) prepare the potatoes or naan now. Cut potatoes into thin slices. You can substitute potatoes with naan ( flat bread) or white cabbage leaves and I have even done it with iceberg lettuce leaves.
Use 1 cup of rice per person
- Thoroughly wash the rice until the water runs clear
- Soak the rice in cold, salted water for at least 2 hours before beginning to cook
- Boil up a large pan ofwater and when boiling add a teaspoon of salt, a drop of saffron and a 1/3rd teaspoon of butter
- Drain the rice and add it carefully to the boiling water. The water temperature will drop so allow it to comes to the boil again. Stay with it now and stir occasionally but be careful not to damage the grains.
- You will start to see the rice begin to expand in length. Continue to boil until the grains become ‘al dente’. Be careful they don’t become fluffy.
- When ‘al dente’ , drain in a mesh sieve.
- Rinse to remove any unwanted starch and put to one side and allow it continue to drain.
- For ‘Taadig’, melt a desert spoon of butter or ghee in the pan you intend to cook the rice in.
- Add a tablespoon of oil, and 1/3rd of a cup of boiling water. Stir.
- Pour most of this into a cup for later use and add another tablespoon of oil into the pan.
- Place your potatoes, naan or cabbage in the bottom of the pan and then gently place the rice on top
- Add 1/2 of the liquid butter, oil and water mix and wait until you see some steam.
- Cover with the lid and steam on a low heat for an hour to an hour and a half adding more of the liquid mix as needed. You want to prevent the rice from becoming too dry and to allow the taadig to form a crispy crust. Dont however add any more of this in the last 20 minutes of the cooking process.
- Remove a few spoons of rice into a bowl and add the infusion of za’faran. mix gently.
- Gently spoon the rest of the rice on to your serving dish and add the za’faran rice and gently mix in.
- Finally if you used potatoes for the taadig you can place these on your dish too. If you have any other taadig then use a separate dish to serve it in.
~NOOSHI JOONET. ENJOY ~