Golden Tahchin Delight: Crispy Saffron Rice Cake


Tahchin, an exquisite Persian dish, is a culinary masterpiece that combines fragrant basmati rice with the rich aroma of saffron, layered with tender chicken or vegetables. The pièce de résistance is its golden, crispy crust that encases the soft, flavorful interior. Perfect for special occasions or a lavish family dinner, this saffron rice cake is sure to impress and delight.

Golden Tahchin Delight: Crispy Saffron Rice Cake

Preparation and Cooking Times

  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours

Servings and Serving Size

  • Servings: 6
  • Serving Size: 1 slice (approximately 200g)

Nutritional Information (per serving)

  • Calories: 350 kcal
  • Protein: 12g
  • Carbohydrates: 55g
  • Fat: 9g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Sugar: 3g
  • Sodium: 400mg


  • 3 cups (600g) basmati rice
  • 1 lb (450g) chicken breast or thighs (or vegetables for a vegetarian version)
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) brewed saffron (a pinch of saffron threads steeped in hot water)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup (75g) barberries (zereshk), soaked in water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp butter

Method of Preparation

  1. Rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the rice, and cook for about 6-8 minutes until it's partially cooked (al dente). Drain and set aside.
  3. In a large pan, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté until golden.
  4. Add the chicken, turmeric, cumin, salt, and pepper. Cook until the chicken is fully cooked and slightly browned. If using vegetables, sauté them until tender.
  5. Shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
  6. In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, eggs, brewed saffron, and a pinch of salt. Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and mix well.
  7. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a deep baking dish or a non-stick pan with butter.
  8. Add half of the saffron yogurt mixture to the partially cooked rice and mix thoroughly.
  9. Spread a layer of the rice mixture evenly at the bottom of the baking dish to form the crust.
  10. Layer the shredded chicken (or vegetables) over the rice.
  11. Top with the remaining rice mixture, pressing down gently to compact it.
  12. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour.
  13. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes until the top is golden and crispy.
  14. In a small pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the soaked barberries and sauté for a few minutes until they plump up. Set aside.
  15. Let the Tahchin cool for a few minutes, then invert it onto a serving platter.
  16. Garnish with the sautéed barberries and additional saffron strands if desired.
  17. Tips for Culinary Success
  18. Ensure the rice is al dente before layering to prevent it from becoming mushy.
  19. Press down each layer firmly to help the Tahchin hold its shape when flipped.
  20. For an extra crispy crust, you can increase the baking time slightly, but keep an eye on it to prevent burning.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I make Tahchin without chicken?

  • Yes, you can substitute the chicken with vegetables like carrots, bell peppers, and spinach for a vegetarian version.

How do I store leftovers?

  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven to maintain the crispy texture.

Can I use brown rice instead of basmati?

  • Basmati rice is preferred for its texture and fragrance, but you can use brown rice. Adjust the cooking time as brown rice takes longer to cook.

Indulge in the rich, aromatic flavors of Golden Tahchin Delight, a dish that brings the warmth and elegance of Persian cuisine to your table. Whether for a festive celebration or a cozy family meal, this crispy saffron rice cake is sure to become a favorite. Enjoy every golden bite!