Tahchin | Persian Saffron Rice Cake Recipe

Persian saffron rice cake also known as Tahchin, is a popular Persian dish with plenty of Saffron. It is normally served with chicken and always garnished with lots of barberries.

What is Tahchin?

“Tah” is a Persian word for bottom and “chin” is the root word for “chidan” which means arranging or layering in this case. This delicious Persian rice cake is all about layering saffron rice at the bottom of a non-stick pan. You would usually have layers of chicken in the middle as well which can be replaced by other ingredients according to your taste.

Tahchin is the ultimate elegant and delicious Persian rice cake and it’s usually the centerpiece of all occasions from casual dinner parties, to birthdays or even weddings.

Getting the perfect evenly crispy golden crust on the Persian rice cake is always tricky. Most cooks would show off their high cooking skills by cooking Tahchin. Unlike all other Persian rice recipes, Tahchin’s rice very sticky and has a cake texture instead of being all fluffy and light.

Tahchin-persian rice cake

Tahdig and Tahchin are two different things

Tahdig is the golden crispy bottom part of every steamed rice, which can be made with saffron rice, potatoes, flatbread like lavash or so many other things. Tahchin, on the other hand, is a complete meal on its own.

How to make the perfect Persian rice cake?

Tahchin is traditionally made in a non-stick pot on medium heat but there is always a possibility of burning the bottom if you’re not careful. That’s why I will highly recommend you to cook Tahchin in an oven-safe dish, it’s easier and you will always end up with a delicious evenly golden Tahchin!

You can use a ceramic casserole dish (it would only take a longer time for the rice to form a crispy crust) or a cast iron which needs to be greased well to prevent sticking. However, with a simple nonstick cake tin, the crust becomes evenly golden and flips out easily.

mini tahchin - persian rice cake

Tahchin recipe ingredients (Serves 4-6)

  • 2 1/2 cups long-grain basmati rice
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 eggs, yolks only
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 7 tbsp bloomed saffron
  • 3 tbsp barberries, washed and soaked for 10 minutes
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • Salt to taste
  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp Butter
  • Water

Garnish:

  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 3/4 Cup Dried Barberries
  • 1/2 tbsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Rose Water
  • 2 tbsp Slivered Pistachios

Persian rice cake recipe:

Place the raw chicken breasts in a pot along with roughly chopped onion, turmeric, salt, pepper and a cup of water, bring to boil then reduce heat, cover and cook for an hour on medium-low heat. When cooked set aside to cool. Then Shred the chicken into pieces.

preparing chicken for Persian rice cake

Heat butter in a pan. Then add chicken and 3 tbsp of bloomed saffron. Drain barberries, then add and mix well. Don’t forget to Season with salt and pepper. Read all about Iranian saffron and it’s preparation.

chicken and barberries for Tahchin

Meanwhile, Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large pot on medium-high heat, add the washed, soaked rice and boil for about 8-10 minutes or until rice grains are soft on the ends and firm in the center. Drain and pour some cool water over it to cool and separate the rice grains (this cool water rinse helps bring about a more fluffy rice).  Set the rice aside.

making rice for Tahchin

In a large mixing bowl combine yogurt, yolks, oil, salt, pepper and the rest of saffron. Mix well

Yoghurt and saffron for Persian rice cake

Add the rice to the yogurt mixture, gently combine. (Do avoid braking rice grains.)

Mixing rice and yoghurt for Tahchin

In a nonstick round or loaf cake tin add 3 tbsp of oil, move the oil around to cover the bottom uniformly. Ladle 2/3 of the rice in, Lay the rice mix on the bottom of the tin and press the rice up the sides of the tin by about 1 inch.

Persian saffron rice cake recipe

Pour chicken mix evenly in the hole.

layers of chicken in Tahchin, Persian rice cake

Cover the entire surface with the rest of the rice, flatten the top with the back of a spoon while pressing down a little. You can drizzle some melted butter over the top layer of rice.

Layers of rice and chicken in Tahchin

Cover with aluminum foil and poke holes into the aluminum foil using a knife to let the steam out. Bake in a preheated oven of 200°C, for about 45 minutes to an hour. The dish is ready once the crust forms.

Cooking Persian rice cake in the oven

Meanwhile, to prepare the barberries, melt the butter in a pan over medium-low heat. Add in barberries, stir until coated with butter. Add in sugar, rose water and slivered pistachios. Stir well. Barberries are ready once they’re shiny. Remove from the heat and set aside.

preparing barberries for Tahchin, Persian rice cake

Once the Tahchin in ready, Take it out the oven and let it cool for a few minutes, this way the crust comes off easier. Place your serving platter on the cake tin. Hold firmly while wearing mittens and gently turn the tin over. Voila! You’re delicious Persian rice cake is ready.

Garnish with barberry mixture as you like.

Persian rice cake goes well with a variety of Persian side dishes like Shirazi salad, Sabzi khordan, and cucumber yogurt.

Tahchin | Persian Saffron Rice Cake

Upside down layered saffron rice with chicken
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Baking Time1 hr
Total Time2 hrs 20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Persian
Author: Shirin Tahanan

Equipment

  • Cake Tin

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups Long-grain basmati rice
  • 2 Boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 Large onion
  • 3 Eggs yolks only
  • 1 cup Plain yogurt
  • 7 tbsp Bloomed saffron
  • 3 tbsp Barberries washed and soaked for 10 minutes
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • Salt to taste
  • 6 tbsp Vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp Butter
  • Water

Garnish

  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 3/4 cup Dried Barberries
  • 1/2 tbsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Rose Water
  • 2 tbsp Slivered Pistachios

Instructions

Persian Rice Cake/Tahchin Recipe

  • Place the raw chicken breasts in a pot along with roughly chopped onion, turmeric, salt, pepper and a cup of water, bring to boil then reduce heat, cover and cook for an hour on medium-low heat. When cooked set aside to cool. Then Shred the chicken into pieces.
  • Heat butter in a pan. Then add chicken and 3 tbsp of bloomed saffron. Drain barberries, then add and mix well. Don’t forget to Season with salt and pepper. Read all about Iranian saffron and it's preparation.
  • Meanwhile, Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large pot on medium-high heat, add the washed, soaked rice and boil for about 8-10 minutes or until rice grains are soft on the ends and firm in the center. Drain and pour some cool water over it to cool and separate the rice grains (this cool water rinse helps bring about a more fluffy rice).  Set the rice aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine yogurt, yolks, oil, salt, pepper and the rest of saffron. Mix well.
  • Add the rice to the yogurt mixture, gently combine. (Do avoid braking rice grains.)
  • In a nonstick round or loaf cake tin add 3 tbsp of oil, move the oil around to cover the bottom uniformly. Ladle 2/3 of the rice in, Lay the rice mix on the bottom of the tin and press the rice up the sides of the tin by about 1 inch.
  • Pour chicken mix evenly in the hole.
  • Cover the entire surface with the rest of the rice, flatten the top with the back of a spoon while pressing down a little. You can drizzle some melted butter over the top layer of rice.
  • Cover with aluminum foil and poke holes into the aluminum foil using a knife to let the steam out. Bake in a preheated oven of 200°C, for about 45 minutes to an hour. The dish is ready once the crust forms.
  • Meanwhile, to prepare the barberries, melt the butter in a pan over medium-low heat. Add in barberries, stir until coated with butter. Add in sugar, rose water and slivered pistachios. Stir well. Barberries are ready once they're shiny. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  • Once the Tahchin in ready, Take it out the oven and let it cool for a few minutes, this way the crust comes off easier. Place your serving platter on the cake tin. Hold firmly while wearing mittens and gently turn the tin over. Voila! You're delicious Persian rice cake is ready.
    Garnish with barberry mixture as you like.

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