Zereshk Polo with Crispy Base (Tahdig)

Zereshk Polo va Tahdig


2 1/2 cups of good white rice

1/2 Tbls lemon juice

1/2 Tbls salt

5 Tbls oil (vegetable oil)

1 tsp butter

1 cup dry barberry (washed to remove grit)

1 Tbls granulated sugar

1 Medium / large potato peeled and thinly sliced

1/4 tsp ground saffron

Diluted Saffron

Add 1/4 tsp of ground saffron into a small teacup and fill half with boiling water. Let the saffron rest for 5 to 10 mins. The longer the saffron rests the darker, richer and intense will be the colour.

The Saffron Rice (drained and steamed)

Place 2 1/2 cups of rice in a medium to large sized non stick cooking pot.

Wash the rice about 2 to 3 times under cold water to clean, draining the water each time.

Fill the pot half way with cold water and mix 1/2 a Tbls of salt, 1 Tbls of lemon juice and 2 Tbls of oil.

Note: This technique of cooking your rice will allow the salt to bring out the flavour of the rice, the lemon to make it whiter and the oil to prevent it from sticking together.

Place the pot on a high heat for 10 to 15 minutes until the water starts to boil and the rice becomes par cooked.

Remove the pot from the heat and drain the water using a colander.

Place 4 Tbls of oil in the pot and ensure the oil spreads all round the pot. Place back on the heat.

Peel and thinly slice a medium to large sized potato and spread neatly using a spiral pattern at the bottom of the pot. Raise the heat for 2 minutes until you hear the splattering of oil under the potatoes.

Take 2 Tbls of the diluted saffron and sprinkle ontop of the potatoes. Reduce the heat to low. This technique will give you the crispy base Iranians love, called Tahdig!

Take the par boiled rice and gently layer it in the pot over the potatoes.

Finally use the rest of the diluted saffron to pour over the top layer of your rice.

Take a tsp of butter and place on top of the rice in the centre. Cover the top of the pot and allow the rice to steam gradually for 20 to 30 minutes or until the  rice is cooked and comes apart without sticking together.

Serving suggestion one for your rice:

When removing the rice from the pot to serve, use a fork to gently pick at the rice, this will help release the rice and make it easier to place on a dish with a bigger utensil.

Once all your rice is in a separate serving dish use a wooden spatula to dislodge the tahdig. If you’re lucky and have used enough oil then the tahdig should come away easily and not break up too much.

You can either place it on a separate dish or by the side of the rice  and garnish the barberries over the rice. (Read The Barberry Garnish further down)

Serving suggestion two for your rice:

For the brave hearted you can place a large enough plate on top of your pot and quickly but please, please very carefully, as you could get burnt badly doing this, and with no one around to nudge or distract you! flip the pot upside down onto the large plate.

The plate needs to be large enough to cover both the top of the pot and give you enough space for the rice to flip on.

Hopefully if successful your rice and tahdig will be intact as shown in the picture above.

Follow the details below if you would like to garnish your rice and tahdig with barberries!

The Barberry Garnish

Wash the barberries thoroughly to remove any grit.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a frying pan.

Empty the barberries in the pan and fry over a medium heat stirring gently for 2 minutes.

Add 1 tbls granulated sugar to the barberries and stir for another 30 seconds or until the sugar has melted into the barberries. Remove from the heat.

Garnish either as shown in the picture above or as preferred.

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