Persian tahdig

“Tahdig” loosely translates to “bottom of the pot” in Persian, which is where the magic happens. Think rice that’s both crispy, fluffy and buttery – yip, heaven on a plate!

More than 1 hour

Serves 6 


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  • 3-4L water 
  • 3 tsp (15ml) fine salt 
  • 2 cups (400g) white basmati rice, rinsed and drained  
  • ½ tsp (3ml) each turmeric, ground cumin and smoked paprika 
  • 3-6 threads saffron (optional) 
  • 3 Tbsp (45ml) plain double cream yoghurt 
  • ¼ cup (60ml) butter 
  • 3 Tbsp (45ml) canola oil 



  1. Bring water and salt to a boil in a large pot. 
  2. Add rice to pot and par-cook 5-7 minutes. 
  3. Drain and rinse under cold water until rice is cold (this stops the cooking process). 
  4. Shake off excess water. 
  5. Stir turmeric, cumin and paprika through rice. 
  6. Soak saffron in a teaspoon of warm water for a minute, if using. 
  7. Combine yoghurt, saffron water and 1 cup (200g) rice. 
  8. Heat butter and oil in a 22cm cast-iron pot or heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat. 
  9. Spread yoghurt-rice mixture over base of pot (make sure it’s covered completely). 
  10. Top with remaining plain rice. 
  11. Make six 2cm-wide holes in rice using a wooden spoon, inserting it all the way to the base of the pot or pan. 
  12. Cook for 25-30 minutes on medium-high, turning pot 90 degrees clockwise every 4-5 minutes to ensure even browning. 
  13. Remove from heat and cool for a few minutes. 
  14. Place a serving dish over pot and, in one quick movement, turn pot over to unmould rice onto a plate. 
  15. Serve immediately. 


Cook’s note:

Not feeling confident that your crust will come lose? Start by adding a drop of oil to your pot and placing baking paper on top. Continue by melting butter and oil on top of baking paper, as per recipe, and filling with rice. Baking paper is heat resistant and won’t disintegrate, giving a protective layer to ensure it doesn’t get stuck!


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