Steamed Persian Rice with Tahdig Recipe

Meaning “bottom of the pot,” tahdig is the crispy layer that forms beneath steamed rice in Iranian cooking. The key to fluffy rice? Soak it first to elongate the grains.
November 16, 2020, 12:00pm
Photo by Farideh Sadeghin

Serves 6
Prep time: 2 hours (soaking rice)
Total time: 3 hours (includes rice soaking)


4 cups|850 grams basmati rice
kosher salt, to taste
6 tablespoons|85 grams unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric or finely ground saffron threads


  1. Rinse the rice until the water runs clear, then place in a bowl and cover with water. Soak for 2 hours, then drain.
  2. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the rice and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain.
  3. Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet that is 3-inches deep (make sure it has a tight fitting lid!) over medium-high. Add 3 tablespoons of the butter, the oil, and turmeric until the butter has melted. Add enough rice to completely cover the bottom of the pot, pressing it down with a spatula. Pile the remaining rice on top in a pyramid.
  4. Using a wooden spoon handle, poke numerous holes throughout the rice. This will allow for steam to escape. Cube the remaining butter and add that to the rice. Wrap a towel around the lid of the pot and cover. Cook for about 10 minutes (you’re getting the tahdig nice and golden at this stage!), then lower the heat to medium-low or low. Cook until the rice has steamed, about 50 minutes. Now, every stove top is different…You may need to cook a little longer than 50 minutes, or maybe play around with your heat. You need to become one with your stove and get to know each other. Remove from the heat.
  5. Run the entire bottom of the pot under cold water. Take off the lid and put a large plate on top. Quickly and carefully invert the pot so that the tahdig releases onto the plate. If it doesn’t? It’s not the end of the world! Simply scoop the rice onto the plate and remove the tahdig from the bottom of the pot and serve it on top or the side of the rice.

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