Tahdig (Persian Crispy Rice)

Shirine Daghmouri, Food & Culture Editor

Tahdig is a crispy Persian rice dish usually accompanied by stews or a main course. The word “tahdig” directly translates to “bottom of the pot” in Farsi. There are many variations to how the dish is made; sometimes thin bread or thinly sliced potatoes are spread at the bottom before the rice. Tachin, often confused with tahdig, is a similar dish that usually has eggs and is layered with vegetables, meat, or fish. The dish is said to have originated in the Persian Empire during the 1800s or even earlier. In fact, tahdig has been found on the royal menus of two kings of Iran’s Qajar Dynasty. This dish is the perfect accompaniment to stews and brings rice to a whole new level.


-2 cups of basmati rice

-4 tablespoons of butter

-4 tablespoons of olive oil

-3 threads of saffron

-1 cup of plain full fat greek yogurt or labneh



-⅓ cup of zereshk (sour berries)

-⅓ cup of shelled pistachios

-⅓ cup of slivered almonds

-3 tablespoons of butter

-1 tablespoon of white sugar

-Salt to taste

(I recommend swapping zereshk for golden raisins if you have trouble finding them.)



1. Rinse the rice thoroughly until the water runs clear.

2. Place the rinsed rice in a pot of water and let boil for about seven minutes. The rice should be parboiled (when you press a grain of rice against a spoon, the grain should break into two pieces). Drain the rice and rinse it under cold water to stop the cooking process.

3. In a bowl, grind two-three threads of saffron and add an ice cube. Wait for the ice cube to melt.

4. In the meantime, combine half of the parboiled rice in a mixing bowl with the yogurt, a teaspoon of salt, and the saffron-water.

5. Melt butter and oil in a large non-stick pot. Add the yogurt-rice mixture to the bottom of the pot and pat down. Then, add the other half of rice on top of the yogurt-rice mixture.

6. With the back of a spoon, create holes in the rice (to allow the steam to rise through the rice as it cooks). Then, place a towel over the top of the pot, and then cover with a lid.

7. Let cook on the lowest heat for about 40 minutes, without uncovering the rice. 

8. For the topping, melt some butter in a pan with sugar and toast the berries and nuts. 

9. Carefully flip the rice over on a plate. Add the topping and enjoy!

This recipe also appears in our March 2023 print edition.