Persian Saffron Rice (Tachin)
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 1 hr 5 mins
Total: 1 hr 20 mins
4.95 from 18 votes
Servings9 – 12 people
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This is a rice side dish that will steal the show! The rice stays fluffy and tastes quite rich, but it’s not heavily flavoured (hence suitable as a side dish), yet is flavoured enough that you’ll want to eat it plain. The barberries provide welcome pops of sour but don’t fret if you can’t find them, see Note 2 for substitutions. This rice dish will pair terrifically with any Persian / Middle Eastern / Lebanese / Gulf recipes. See in post for Persian Feast menu!
2 cups / 360g basmati rice (Note 1)
1 tbsp salt
3 litres / 3 quarts water
1/2 cup dried barberries (Note 2)
2 tbsp / 30g unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp rose water (optional)
1 tsp saffron threads (Note 3)
2 tbsp warm water
1 cup / 250 g plain yogurt (I use Farmers Union Greek Yogurt)
1/2 cup / 125 ml oil , neutral (or butter!)
3 egg yolks
3/4 tsp salt
Bring water to the boil in a large pot. Add salt and rice. Bring back up to the boil then cook for 5 minutes. Drain and leave to steam dry for 5 minutes.
Melt butter in a small pan over medium heat. Add barberries and cook for about 1 1/2 minutes until they plump up (see video!).
Remove from heat (they will shrivel quickly) then stir through rose water (if using).
Preheat oven to 200C/390F (standard) or 180C/350F (fan).
Lightly grease a glass pie dish with oil.
Ground saffron into powder (optional step). Add water and leave to seep for 10 minutes.
Mix yogurt, egg, oil, saffron water and salt in a large bowl.
Add rice, stir well.
Pour half the rice in the pie dish, smooth surface. Top with 1/3 of the barberries.
Cover with remaining rice, smooth surface, sprinkle over another 1/3 of the barberries. Press down firmly, cover with foil.
Bake 60 – 80 minutes until the crust is deep golden all over.
Rest for 10 minutes. Remove foil. Place serving plate on pie dish then flip upside down (it won’t stick because of the oil, see video!).
Scatter surface with remaining barberries then serve.
Can be substituted with long grain or jasmine rice.
A Persian ingredient found at speciality and ethnic stores. Tastes sour and provides great pops of colour. Can be substituted with 1 cup of dried sour cherries or cranberries or craisins.
Can be substituted with 1/16 tsp of economical saffron powder. Basically, if saffron powder is around the same price as other spices, then it’s the economical version ie not 100% saffron (saffron is the most expensive spice in the world). Grinding into powder is optional. I’ve done it without grinding and didn’t notice a difference in overall colour though you do see little saffron strands (which is pretty!).
Slightly adapted from this Bon Appetit Crunchy Baked Saffron Rice.
Nutrition per serving. Serves 8 to 12 as a side as part of a multi-course meal.
Persian Saffron Rice (Tachin)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 360 Calories from Fat 162
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Vitamin A 190IU4%
Vitamin C 0.2mg0%
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Calories: 360kcal (18%)Carbohydrates: 42g (14%)Protein: 5g (10%)Fat: 18g (28%)Saturated Fat: 3g (19%)Cholesterol: 75mg (25%)Sodium: 991mg (43%)Potassium: 96mg (3%)Sugar: 1g (1%)Vitamin A: 190IU (4%)Vitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 55mg (6%)Iron: 0.5mg (3%)