I have refined my Tah Chin over the years, now using a Persian rice cooker. The recipe below is still the one I base off of, but always am fiddling at the edges.
The moment before unfolding is still always stressful…
But now this is what I unmold…
I have found that a key step to having the dish hold its shape is to not skimp on the soaking of the rice. The inside then beautifully looks like this…
Persian comfort food!
I first had Tah Chin on my first trip to Iran over 10 years ago. We were going on a picnic and this was the delicious dish that was brought along to feed the crowd.
So, when I returned to the states, I quickly searched for a recipe to make Tah Chin here. I have adapted one form Farsinet.com. It became a favorite of all my daughters, who renamed it “eggy rice”. It was always a happy mealtime when eggy rice was on the menu.
I made this tonight with local chicken and eggs. My oldest is home; and since I had only been referring to what I was making as Tah Chin, she let out a exclamation of delight “Oh, THIS is what you were making!” Even 5 year-old Cam, who claimed he didn’t really like it, devoured a large portion (note – he doesn’t eat things he doesn’t like).
Tah Chin (Persian Rice with Chicken, Saffron & Yogurt)
Adapted from Farsinet.com
2 lbs chicken (boneless is easiest)
1 lb basmati rice
1 1/4 cups plain yogurt
1/2 tsp saffron
2 large onions, thinly sliced
3 eggs (yolks only)(locally raised)
1 Tbsp canola oil
salt & black pepper
Wash the rice and soak in warm water (with added salt) for 2 hours. Drain the water.
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Fry the onions in oil until slightly golden.
Wash and pat dry the chicken and fry in onions until color changes (not necessarily browned).Add some water and bring to boil. Turn heat down and let boil slowly until cooked, adding more water if needed.Remove the bones, if necessary, and shred the chicken. Mix in most of the onions.While chicken is cooking, cook the rice in a pot of salted water until just al dente, it should still be a but too firm to eat. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process, drain again.Grind the saffron with a bit of salt, then dissolve in half a cup of hot water.Beat the yogurt until it is smooth. Add saffron, salt, pepper and egg-yolks to the yogurt and mix very well.Pour several spoons of oil and several spoons of the yogurt mix into a non-stick pot. Add a thin layer of rice and flatten using the back of a spoon.Add a layer of chicken on top followed by another layer of rice.Again flatten the rice. Spread several more spoons of the yogurt mix on the rice.Continue the layers until chicken, rice and the yogurt mix have been used up. Add some more water on top. Put the lid on and cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat.Place the pot in an oven, cook for 1 hour.
When cooked, remove the lid and let cool for a few minutes.
Place an inverted large dish over the pot and turn it over. Tap the pot in order to loosen the contents inside. The contents should fall on the dish in one piece.Cut into wedges to serve. Enjoy!Serves 4 – 6.