Persian Savory Saffron Cake - Tahchin is a very delicious traditional Persian rice dish full of saffron and other great flavors. Usually served with chicken, this tahchin recipe is surprisingly easy to make!
If you're familiar with Persian recipes, you know that rice is a key element of this beautiful cuisine. From classic Persian rice and tahdig to sabzi polo (herb rice) and tomato rice, this humble grain is cooked in different ways that result in different flavors. Today, I'm showing you one of my favorite rice recipes called tahchin, aka Persian savory saffron rice cake.
What is Tahchin?
Tahchin is a combination of two words: Tah+Chin. "Tah" means bottom and "chin" means arrange. It's very different from other Persian dishes as it's actually very sticky and has a cake-like texture because its ingredients include yogurt and eggs. The golden color of this saffron rice cake is a result of bloomed saffron which makes it so aromatic and full of flavor.
To make this Persian savory saffron rice cake, you need the following ingredients:
- Long grain rice: I prefer basmati for this recipe since it just has enough starch and the perfect texture.
- Yogurt: We use yogurt in this recipe to help the grains stick together. Whole milk yogurt is always preferred but you can definitely use low fat or non fat yogurt as well.
- Eggs: Some recipes call for only yolks to make tahchin. However, I believe that the dish will have a better texture if made with whole eggs.
- Saffron: The bright flavor and color of this dish comes from saffron which is an essential of the Persian pantry. To bloom saffron, grind a few strands of saffron and sprinkle them on two ice cubes. Let it melt at room temperature and use in the recipe. Make sure you use good quality saffron. My favorite is Mehr Saffron, which has a truly amazing color and flavor!
- Vegetable oil: For this recipe, vegetable oil or other neutral oils work best.
Some recipes call for a layer of shredded chicken as a middle layer, but I've found that to make the chicken a bit dry therefore I prefer to serve the chicken separately.
How to make Tahchin
Par-cook the rice
Rinse rice a few times and set it aside. Bring a pot of water to boil and add the rice. Boil for about 5 to 7 minutes until it's half-cooked, meaning the grains are soft on the outside and still hard on the inside. Drain and set the rice aside.
Make the egg and saffron mixture
In a large bowl, mix eggs, yogurt, vegetable oil and saffron until combined. Add the par cooked rice and stir until the mixture covers all grains.
Bake in the oven
Preheat the oven to 350°F and coat a 13x9 baking dish or two 8 inch baking dishes with non stick cooking spray. Transfer the rice and yogurt mixture to the baking dish and bake in the oven for almost an hour until it's set and golden.
Can I make this on the stove?
Traditionally, Persian savory saffron cake is made in a pot on medium heat but you may end up burning the bottom if you're not careful. That's why I strongly encourage you to cook this Persian rice cake dish in an oven safe dish: it's easier and you will always end up with a delicious golden Tahchin!
What's the difference between tahchin and tahdig?
Tahdig is the crispy bottom of the part deliciousness that is made with Persian rice. It's made with rice, potatoes or flatbreads like lavash. Tahchin on the other hand, is a complete meal on its own and is usually served with chicken. You might see it referred to as tahchin morgh on a menu when served with chicken.
Notes and tips:
- Bastmati rice has different variations. Make sure the consistency of your tahchin batter looks like what you see in the video.
- Absolutely bloom your saffron. I actually have an entire post on how to how to bloom saffron. Saffron threads don't release their full aroma, color and flavor if they're not bloomed.
- One often serves this dish with chicken in tomato sauce. You can use the recipe in my post on zereshk polo morgh to make the chicken.
- You can make tahchin in a muffin tin to have individual portions of this savory rice cake. Make sure to coat the tin with cooking spray.
- You can store tahchin in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to two days.
More Persian recipes
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Persian Savory Saffron Cake - Tahchin
Saffron Rice Cake
- 6 cup Water
- 2 cups Basmati rice washed
- 2 ½ teaspoon Salt
- 1 cup Plain Greek yogurt
- 3 Eggs
- ½ Cup Vegetable Oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoon Bloomed Saffron
- 2 tablespoon Butter
- ¾ Cup Dried Barberries
- ½ tablespoon Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Rose Water
- 2 tablespoon Slivered Almonds
- 2 tbsp Slivered Pistachios
- Pour water in a large pot, bring to boil.
- Add rice to the boiling water, cook for 10 minutes until the rice is soft on the outside but firm on the inside.
- Drain the rice, set aside in a bowl.
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Coat an oven safe dish (8X8) with nonstick spray.
- Place yogurt, oil and eggs and salt in a large bowl whisk until combined.
- Add in par cooked rice. mix well. Add in bloomed saffron. Mix well.
- Pour into the oven safe dish, cover with aluminum foil and poke holes into the aluminum foil using a fork.
- Bake in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour. The dish is ready once it's fully cooked and stuck together.
Meanwhile, prepare the barberries.
- Heat a small pan over medium low heat. Melt the butter in the pan.
- Add in barberries, stir until coated with butter.
- Add in sugar and rose water. Stir well.
- Barberries are ready once they're shiny.
- Once the Tahchin in ready, flip it into a plate and top it with barberries, slivered almond and slivered pistachios.
- Serve plain or with chicken in tomato rice.
- Bastmati rice has different variations. Make sure the consistency of your Tahchin batter looks like what you see in the video.
- Absolutely bloom your saffron. You can find the full guide How To Bloom Saffron. Saffron threads don't have full aroma, color and flavor if they're not bloomed.
- This dish is usually served with chicken in tomato sauce. You can use the chicken recipe in Zereshk Polo Morgh to make the chicken.
- You can make Tahchin in a muffin tin to have individual portions of this savory rice cake. Make sure to coat the tin with cooking spray.
- You can store Tahchin in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to two days.