This is probably the only Persian dish that I know how to make, and my dear friend Darya taught me how to make it during our one year together in residency up in Ann Arbor, MI. Now I can’t make it like she does, but it’s decent enough for down south. Hopefully I did this correctly as it’s been about 2 years since I’ve last made this. The first time I had tachin was out in Los Angeles at Scherzade. It was a HUGE chunk of rice (that I had to take part of it home) with dried currents. I didn’t use dried currants today, but I do have some dried cherries that I use with my oatmeal in the mornings.
Tachin is basically chicken, yoghurt, rice (and of course saffron). It is by far, my favorite “crispy rice” dish ever! Super oily, but super yummy. D taught me a trick though which comes in handy. Instead of stir-frying the meat (and you can use whatever meat you want although the original recipe calls for chicken), she says to use a pre-roasted rotisserie chicken. You’ll have to debone it yourself and shred it but it’s worth it for the extra flavor. Today, given the sheer amount of leftover from Chinese New Year, I used roasted duck. Personally, as there is a LOT of rice to this dish, I would recommend more meat and actually a little bit of sauce. It just gives a little more flavor to seep down into that lower layer of rice.
I hope you like this recipe!
Tachin (Crispy Rice)
- 3 cups cooked basmati rice (I used a rice cooker)
- 1.5-2 cups yoghurt (Greek yoghurt will be more tart – I used flavored peach Chobani yoghurt but my favorite is just plain ol’ vanilla and/or honey)
- 2 cups+ of shredded cooked meat (rotisserie or roasted)
- olive oil (lots of it)
- saffron (as much as you like for taste)
Take shredded meat and mix in yoghurt. (sometimes I will add a little extra sauce, like duck sauce, and/or honey depending on how much yoghurt I want to taste)
Crush saffron in saffron-specific mortar and pestle or use fingers to crumble as fine as possible into yoghurt mixture. Stir evenly to get consistent flavor and color. Add more saffron for personal taste.
In a nonstick pan on low heat, pour olive oil until the entire bottom of the pan is covered and the oil is slightly seeping up the sides.
Pack about an inch’s worth of basmati rice at the bottom firmly into one solid layer. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Do not use up all the rice!
Place an evenly-spread layer of the yoghurt-meat mixture on top of the rice layer.
Using extra basmati rice, mix in the leftover yoghurt from the bowl (saffron is freaking expensive!).
Pack this mixed layer of rice on top of the meat mixture FIRMLY. (the tighter you pack it without mushing, the better).
Place a cloth (cheesecloth preferably) on top and close lid — do not let the cloth drop so low that it catches on fire! Cook on low-medium to medium heat covered for approximately 45 minutes. When you take off the lid, you should see the bits of the sides of the rice “cake” slightly golden brown.
Turn off stove and let cool slightly.
Place a plate on top of the pan, and skillfully invert the pan (and thus the rice casserole) on top of the plate. Garnish with dried red currants.
In Los Angeles, the tachin was so dense, I literally ate 1/3 and was full. In addition there were red currants on the inside of the dish itself. The better you pack it, the better form it will have when you flip it over and cut into it. Unfortunately, my rice was not packed enough and so when I cut into it, it was still fairly loose. Not to mention, my plate slipped a little bit when i inverted the pan and so you can tell that there was a little part of the circle that fell off (I almost cried). However, the flavor was all there, and that amazing crispy outer covering was PERFECT.
Mind you, this is not the healthiest dish given the amount of oil that is required. But it’s definitely tasty! I miss my friend so much, and I’m glad that we were able to share at least one cooking adventure together. Maybe next time I will have to share my story about the coconut balls HAHA. Somehow the word ‘balls’ just evoked a ton of laughter between her husband and their friends.
Until next time, تناول وجبة كبيرة !