Tahdig, The Crispy Game Changer of Persian Cuisine
Tahdig is the precious treasure of Persian cuisine and the essential part of a meal. Whenever Iranians make Persian rice, they create a masterpiece called Tahdig to be placed on top of the rice tray. This crispy item plays the role of french fries next to a burger in the Iranian table. It is simple, elegant, and delicious, but indeed inseparable. In Iranian families, the traditional fight over being the one who has the honor of wearing the crown and bringing Tahdig to the table (and snatching a couple of pieces on the way) starts from the kitchen. Then, after having this golden jewel on the table, everyone wants to pick the most crispy part for themselves.
What Does Tahdig Mean?
Tahdig literally means the bottom of the pot that refers to the crusty layer of any ingredients (mostly rice) at the bottom of the pot, which is golden and crispy. Iranians love to make their rice in a way that gives them a gorgeous Tahdig. Then they serve it with stew to provide more flavor to it and make it a little bit softer. However, lots of people enjoy the crispy and tender texture of this item more.
What Are Different Types of Tahdig?
Iranians love to play with their food and come up with new recipes. Therefore, we have different types of Tahdig to offer you. Bread, lettuce, rice, saffron, potatoes, and pasta are the main ingredients that can be used for making this crispy crust. Tahdig is a game-changer for sure, so do not hesitate to make different types of it. However, since this item has a close relationship with rice, let’s look at how we can make Persian rice.
How to Cook Persian Rice?
You can cook rice with two methods. For the first method, place the oil and rice into the pot and add a few cups of water. The water should cover the rice entirely, and based on the type of your rice, you can add more water to it when necessary. When the water is boiling, and you can see that most of it is evaporated, you can put the lid on and lower the heat. After about 45 minutes, the rice is ready. This method is useful for simple, herb, or saffron Tahdig. So if you want to try different types of Tahdig, you need to go with the second method.
The second method is the more prestigious one. It might be a little bit more complicated and less nutritious, but the rice will look better at the end. To make rice using this method, you need to boil the rice for 7 to 10 minutes until you see small lines on the seeds. In this step, the seeds may look transparent as well. Another sign for noticing that the rice is ready for draining is when the seeds are coming on the surface of the water. Then, drain the rice with cold water and put the pot back on the heat, add the rice and oil then let it cook for 40 minutes.
How to Make Saffron Tahdig?
Saffron Tahdig is what you need to prepare a glorious meal for your family and friends. Do not underestimate the magic of saffron in Persian cuisine, and in this item in particular. This Persian spice gives your Tahdig a sweet oriental aroma that is unique, and the golden color of it is the main reason that you see your crusty rice shine like a piece of gold.
To make a perfect saffron Tahdig, you need to brew some saffron powder and pour it in the pot with a little bit of oil (You can also mix the rice with saffron if you like.). Then add the rice to it, and increase the heat for 5 minutes to make the water evaporate, and you will notice from the sounds it makes that your rice is starting to get crispy. After that, put a flame distributor on the lower heat and let your rice cook for 40 to 45 minutes.
You can also combine a few tablespoons of rice with saffron and yogurt to make something delightful similar to Tahchin. Then, by putting a plate on top of the pot and turning it upside down, you see the shiny saffrony Tahdig in front of you.
How to Make Potato Tahdig?
Potato Tahdig is probably the most popular type of Tahdigs for Iranians. The taste of it is heavenly, and once you start eating, you realize that you cannot get enough of it. Besides the wonderful taste of potato Tahdig, the sound that you make while eating it is what the Mukbang industry misses.
To make a crispy potato Tahdig, you need to slice the peeled potatoes thin, pour some oils in the pot, and put it on the heat. When the oil is hot enough, place the sliced potatoes at the bottom of the pot and add the rice to it. You could also add saffron and sesame seeds to the pot before placing the Pomatoes. Then put a flame distributer under the pot and let your rice cook for 40 minutes.
How to Make Bread Tahdig?
Bread Tahdig is what you can crave for every moment of the day. Making it is so easy, and the result surprises you with its tenderness and taste, which is out of this world. The type of bread that we use for this Tahdig is called Lavash, which is very thin. However, you are free to use different types of bread too.
In order to make bread Tahdig, you just need to let the oil get hot and place the bread on the bottom of the pot. By pouring a little bit of brewed saffron before adding the rice, you can make the bread Tahdig even more fascinating and let the bread absorb the taste and fragment of saffron.
How to Make Lettuce Tahdig?
The genius mind that came up with the idea of having lettuce Tahdig needs to be honored. You need to try this item to get the authentic feeling of what it tastes like especially when you want to make Sabzi Polo or herb with rice. Besides using lettuce, you should try other types of vegetables or even tomatoes and let the sour taste of it enchant you.
Making lettuce Tahdig is simple and fun. All you need to do is to place the lettuce in your pot with some oil, then add the rice to it. Then put the lid back on, and cook the rice for 40 minutes. The result can make you speechless.
How to Make Rice and Herb Tahdig?
Iranians make rice with herbs and call it Sabzi Polo. Then they usually serve it with different types of meat. The color of herbs gives Tahdig a smooth green color and makes it aromatic. The most common herbs to use for this item are dill or leek, which are incredibly delicious.
If you want to make rice and herb Tahdig, you need to combine the rice with the diced or dried herb and add it to the pot, which has some oil in it. Then you can follow the rest of the process according to the rice recipe and enjoy your shiny Tahdig.
How to Make Pasta Tahdig?
If you think having Tahdig is limited to rice, you are wrong because pasta Tahdig is a new level of deliciousness. Iranians call it Tahdig-e Macaroni and adore its crispy and crunchy texture. There is a unique way of making pasta in Persian cuisine that you need to try.
First, you should boil the pasta in water, salt, and oil until they are almost soft. Then, like making rice, you should pour a little oil in the pot, combine the pasta with its sauce, which is made of tomato paste, meat, and fried onion and add it into the pot. The sauce gives its taste to Tahdig and makes it mouth-watering. Then your pasta needs to cook for 30 minutes. You can also, use bread or potato as the pasta Tahdig.
How to Make Meat and Chicken Tahdig?
If you are a meat lover, this type of Tahdig can be your favorite. You can marinate your meat, especially the chicken with spices, saffron, and olive oil, then place it at the bottom of your pot. The top layer on the meat would be rice, which cooks faster. Then let it cook for about 45 minutes. When you make the pot upside down, you see the meat is sparkling because of oil, and it looks crispy and golden which makes you dig in.