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Persian-Style Baked Saffron Rice with Chicken

4 Servings

1 hour, 50 minutes 30 minutes active, plus soaking

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Tahchin is a traditional Persian dish of basmati rice mixed with saffron, yogurt and egg yolks, then baked into a cake. For serving, the rice is inverted out of the baking vessel, revealing the tahdig, or the crisp, deeply browned crust, which many consider the main attraction of the dish. Though tahchin can be plain, it often is filled with cooked vegetables or meat. Here, we make tahchin morgh, or tahchin with chicken. We take a shortcut, however, and simply layer uncooked pieces of seasoned chicken thighs into the rice so they bake right into the grains. For even cooking, it’s important to soak and parboil the rice in generously salted water, then drain it well to remove excess moisture that otherwise would cause the rice to become soggy. Dried barberries are a traditional ingredient in tahchin, but instead we use easier to source dried currants to add pops of sweet-tart flavor. You will need a 9-inch deep-dish glass pie plate for this recipe. The glass not only conducts heat well so the rice forms a nice bottom crust, it also allows you to monitor browning. For make-ahead convenience, the rice can be put into the pie plate, covered and refrigerated for up to eight hours. When you’re ready to bake, drizzle on the melted butter, cover with foil and bake as directed (no need to increase the timing). A bright tomato-onion salad is a nice accompaniment to the tahchin.

4

Servings

Tip

Don’t use a metal baking pan or a ceramic pie plate. Neither will brown and crisp the bottom crust as well as glass. Also, be sure the oven rack is in the lowest position, as proximity to the heating element will assist with browning.

1 hour, 50 minutes

30 minutes active, plus soaking

Reviews
Joanna W.
August 21, 2022
Delicious
Fantastic
Sandra S.
July 2, 2022
baking dish
Please let me know where you can get a 9 in. deep dish glass pie plate?? I can only find 9 1/2. Recipe sounds delish!
Kathy M.
June 25, 2022
Easy to Make
Loved that I could make this recipe beforehand. Came out perfect. But, all the other recipes of Tahchin Morgh I've looked at have onions in them, which I think could have amped the flavor up a bit. I might also add cumin and turmeric. I do realize there are regional differences.
Bill O.
August 5, 2022
A neutral rating
Looking at the recipe, I was concerned that it might be lacking in flavor. Reading the reviews seemed to confirm that. So I ended up making proactive changes. I sauteed onions and jalapenos. I added cumin, coriander and turmeric, as well as a little apple cider vinegar to give it some acid. And with those additions, the flavor profile was quite good. I had made crispy Persian rice before with a recipe from another site. This one did not turn out crispy on the bottom, even with an additional 10 minutes at 425. At that point, I had people over for dinner and couldn't wait any longer. Next time, I'll try it in a cast iron pan at 400 in the oven, then finish over high heat on the stove to try to crisp the rice better. And even with doubling the amount of chicken called for, the dish was still too rice-centric. I understand I have not rated the recipe as written, so feel free to disregard my rating.
Athena P.
July 31, 2022
Good crust but dry & underspiced
Unusually for a Milk Street recipe this was underwhelming, though it crusted well. Although it has chicken, as written it's more a rice side dish than a main & the oven cooking dried it out a lot. If I make again with chicken as a main I'd decrease rice to 1 or 1-1/8 cup, increase chicken to 18-20 oz & currants by 1-2 Tbsp, & as noted by Kathy M., definitely add a sliced onion sauteed with warm spices to give it more depth of flavor. As a side dish I think the chicken detracts from the rice so I'd omit it.

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