Tah Dig (Persian Rice)

I finally got around to trying a different rice cooking technique and I'm immediately converted. It's actually a little annoying I've spent 33 years of my life without knowing much about it, let alone how to cook it.

Tah Dig is slow-steamed, with a salty, buttery top layer of crunchy, chewy, golden rice.

  • Basmati rice
  • Salt
  • Flavourless oil
  • Butter
  • Herbs (optional)

Start by rinsing the rice in lots of cold water to wash out the milky starch. After three or four washes the water will run clear. Next, leave to soak in more cold water. The more time you soak, the fluffier the rice will be, but 2-3 hours minimum.

Drain (don't rinse), and boil for 5-6 minutes in salted water. For even more deliciousness, add finely chopped herbs like coriander, mint, parsley and fennel fronds to the boiling rice. The rice should be almost cooked, but still left with a little bite to it. Drain.

Now for the steaming. If you have a non-stick saucepan, use that. If not, line the saucepan with greaseproof paper, base and sides. It's easier to line if you scrunch up the paper then flatten again before trying to get it into the pan.

Add 2-3 tablespoons of oil and a generous amount of butter and let it melt and coat the bottom of the pan (or paper), then sprinkle in the par-cooked rice, with added flakey sea salt in between the layers.

Turn the heat up and put a tight-fitting lid on. Keep on a high heat for a couple of minutes to get the pan nice and hot then turn it down to its lowest temperature. Leave to steam for 10 to 20 minutes.

The steaming time can vary massively but what you're looking for are huge, fluffy grains of rice on the top and golden yellow, crispy rice on the bottom. It's worth checking every five minutes or so. This is made easier if you use paper to line the pan: You can lift the rice out by the edges of the paper to check the bottom without disturbing it too much.

When it's done, turn it out onto a plate like an upside-down cake and serve.

I learned this technique from Sabrina Ghayour's brilliant book 'Persiana'.

6th September 2017

Category: Recipes