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Persian Style Baked Rice with Chicken – A Sunday Supper

July 11, 2022

It’s time for another delicious Sunday Supper idea! This was another new to me dish that we will be making again in our house, it was so good. Tahchin is a traditional Persian dish of basmati rice mixed with saffron, yogurt and egg yolk that is then baked into a cake. Yep, it’s a rice cake but don’t get it confused with those hard disks you buy at the grocery store. This is SO much better. When ready to serve you invert the rice out of the baking dish, revealing the tahdig. That is the crisp, browned crust and what makes this dish extra special.

If you are not a big meat eater you could sub the chicken for some mushrooms or another hearty veggie. I would saute them a bit first to remove some extra moisture. This meal seems complicated but it’s really not and you can even prep and assemble ahead of time. For “special equipment” you will need a deep, glass baking dish in order to get that crispy browning on the bottom. I used a deep dish pie plate and it worked pretty well.

Persian Style Baked Rice with Chicken

  • Servings: 8
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  • 1½ cups Basmati rice
  • ¼ teaspoon of Saffron threads, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons of boiling water
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 12 ounces of boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 3 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • ½ cup of plain, whole milk Greek yogurt
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3 tablespoons of dried currants or golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoons of salted butter, melted
  • Fresh parsley, chopped for serving
  • Roasted Pistachios, roughly chopped for serving


  1. In a medium bowl, combine the rice with enough water to cover by about 1 inch. Set aside at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or up 12 hours. Drain the rice in a fine mesh sieve, then rinse under cool running water and drain again.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the saffron and boiling water; set aside.
  3. Heat the oven to 400°F with a rack in the lowest position. Brush the bottom and sides of a 9-inch deep-dish glass pie plate with 2 tablespoons of the oil.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the chicken, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon of the lemon zest, the garlic, ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper and 1 tablespoon of the saffron water. Stir until the chicken is evenly coated; set aside at room temperature.
  5. In a large saucepan, bring 2 quarts water to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the yogurt, egg yolk, remaining 2 teaspoons lemon zest and remaining saffron water; whisk until well combined.
  6. When the water reaches a boil, stir in the rice and 2 tablespoons salt. Return to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes; it will not be fully cooked. Drain the rice in a fine-holed colander or large fine-mesh sieve, shaking to remove excess water. Add the rice to the yogurt mixture and stir until thoroughly combined.
  7. Add about 1½ cups rice mixture to the prepared pie plate, gently pressing it into an even layer over the bottom and about halfway up the sides. Stir the chicken mixture and the currants/rasisins into the remaining rice mixture, then transfer to the pie plate and distribute in an even layer; do not compact the rice mixture. If you are making this ahead of time stop here, cover with foil, and place in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake. It can be stored in the fridge up to 8 hours ahead of baking. No need to increase cook time.
  8. Drizzle the melted butter evenly over top. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 hour. Carefully remove the foil and continue to bake until the bottom is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for about 5 minutes.
  9. Run a silicone spatula around the edge to loosen the rice from the pie plate. Invert a serving platter over the pie plate. Holding the platter against the pie plate, carefully invert the two together. Carefully remove the pie plate. Sprinkle with parsley and pistachios.

Serve some diced tomatoes with olive oil and a pinch of salt on the side for a little freshness.(optional but we liked it) This recipe was adapted from Milk Street, find the original here.

Let me know how your tahdig turns out! Enjoy 🙂

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