Chef's CornerDesiree Brassert

Persian Rice Tahdig

Chef's corner headerThis slightly unusual preparation will give rice and potatoes center stage at your next cookout. Here are some easy to follow steps for fluffy and crunchy results.


  • 2 cups of basmati rice
  • 1 medium size potato (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of saffron threads*
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of cold butter cut into 4 cubes
  • 3 tablespoons of sea salt or more

*Sometimes I’ll use a pinch of achiote (annatto) and turmeric (curcuma) if saffron is unavailable.


  • 1 large pot for boiling rice
  • 1 smaller pot for potato, if using
  • Metal sieve to drain boiling rice
  • 1 deep pan, preferably non-stick, with a tight fitting lid


  1. Soak washed rice for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, fill pots with water, generous amounts of salt, and bring to a boil.
  2. Parboil rice for exactly 4 minutes, drain and set aside.
  3. Parboil whole peeled potato for 5 to 8 minutes and set aside.
  4. Assemble the Tahdig by heating the olive oil and butter in the non-stick pan. Bloom the saffron threads for 2-3 minutes and turn off heat. Reserve 1/2 of this oil.
  5. Place thin potato slices at the bottom of the pan, and top with the parboiled rice pressing down on the edges. Pour reserved oil all over and then make four indentations to press cold butter cubes inside.
  6. Cover with the tight-fitting lid and cook on medium low heat for 45 minutes. For a little extra crunch, increase the heat at the very end.
  7. Flip over onto a large platter, preferably tableside and with a drumroll.