Persian Rice Cooking Method

Persian Rice from MyPersianKitchen

Ingredients for two people

  • 2 cups of basmati rice (the equivalent in standard measuring cup is 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 tbsp of yogurt
  • 1 pinch of saffron
  • 1 pinch of sugar
  • salt
  • Canola or vegetable oil


  • Measure out your rice and place in a bowl.
  • Wash rice a few times until the water looks clear. This is a very important step in cooking Persian rice. Essentially, what you are doing is removing the starch from the rice.
  • Add some salt and let the rice soak for a few hours. It is generally strongly believed that rice should rest over night for best results.
  • When you are ready to cook bring 6 cups of water to a boil. I don’t like to take chances so my rule of thumb is 3 cups of water per cup of rice. You will be amazed how the rice soaks up the water.
  • In the mean time in a mortar add sugar and saffron and grind until saffron turns into a powder.
  • Once your water starts boiling, take 2 tbsp of the hot water and add it to the saffron and sugar powder. Then salt the boiling water.
  • Think of this part of the process as cooking pasta. You salt the water, add the pasta, cook until done, and then drain. We do the same thing here: place the rice in the boiling water and cook for about 10 minutes. This is the first crucial moment of rice cooking. Make sure that you stir the rice a couple of times from bottom up during the cooking time. Once the 10 minutes are close taste your rice. It should be soft, not hard or mushy. It should be longer than it was before it went into the pot, but it should not be moments from falling apart.
  • While your rice cooks, place yogurt in a mixing bowl, add saffron water to it and mix well. Please note that it is best to not use yogurt that it is too sour for this recipe.
  • Once your rice is ready drain in a colander and give a quick rinse with cold water to stop additional cooking.
  • Add about 4 to 5 tablespoons of rice to the yogurt mixture. Mix well together.
  • Add a very thin layer of water to the bottom of the pot. Essentially, what you are looking for is a thin layer that covers the whole bottom of the pot. Add oil, I would say for this recipe 1 tbsp, more if you are using a bigger pot. Give it all a shake so that the water and oil get a little mixed up. This my friends, it is the first step in making Tahdig.
  • Cover the bottom of the pan with rice mixed with yogurt. You ask why we add yogurt and saffron? Because it makes really yummy Tahdig! Pile up the rest of the rice on top in the shape of a pyramid.
  • With the back of your spatula make 4-5 holes, making sure that you don’t go through the rice and yogurt mix. This is done for steaming purposes.
  • Cover and cook on high for 10 minutes, NO MORE THAN 10 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes place a towel over the lid of the pot, cover, and cook on medium low for 1 hour. At this point you are steaming your rice.
  • There are two ways to serve Persian rice. Here is the first way (my favorite way): Place your serving dish on top of the pot. Flip the pot while holding the dish against it firmly. Remove the pot and voila’! Look at the fabulous color of that Tahdig. Yummy!
  • The second way of serving Persian rice is by plating the rice in a platter, then remove the tahdig and cut it in small pieces and placing it in dish. Usually when people plate the rice this way they will place some rice mixed with saffron on top for decoration purposes. This is really simple to do. Here is how you would do it. Instead of adding all of the saffron water to the yogurt, reserve about 1 tsp of it. Add a couple of spoons of rice and mix well. Place the mixture on top of the rest of the rice. Then proceed with the cooking process. Once your rice is ready, remove the rice with saffron from the top of the pot and place in a bowl. Plate the rest of the rice and then place the saffron rice on top.

One thought on “Persian Rice Cooking Method

  1. Pingback: April Aviv: Happy New Year! | C I N E C H E F S

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