Persians love their crispy rice and call it Tah-Dig which translated word by word means bottom of the pot! As kids back in the old country, we always fought over it and still fighting a fiercer battle with friends from all parts of the world! As it turned out, this thing can become popular fast. I think it has to do with the crunchiness and its indescribable but heavenly taste.
To make Tah-Dig, the rice need to be soaked in the water with 2 tablespoons of salt for a couple of hours and then boiled until the center of the grain is hard but it’s soft on the surface. Then it has to be strained and rinsed with cold water to get rid of the excess water and salt. While the rice resting in the strainer, in a big pot heat up 2 to 3 tablespoons of oil (I prefer coconut oil) with 1/2 a teaspoon of powdered saffron and when hot and sizzling add about 1 cup of the strained rice and let it fry for about 20 seconds. Then lower the heat, add the rest of the rice, cover the pot completely by a piece of paper towel with the lid on the top of it, and let it cook for about 20 or 25 minutes. It’s amazing how much the taste, color and aroma can change with different mix rice recipes. I’ll try to post some other recipes in the future.
My friend Ann and her husband were over at my place a week ago. My friend’s husband and I enjoy some similar pain in the neck digestive issues and when we have to be careful with what goes in the meal when we cook for each other. This time I made them a berry rice mix with chicken stew which is again another popular Persian dish. When I say berry most of you probably picture blueberry, blackberry, raspberry or such but it’s none of them. This kind of berry is a member of berberis family, berberis aggregate. The dried version is what’s used in this dish called zeresh polo in Farsi.
While your rice is cooking, it’s time to prepare the berry mix. These days you can find almost anything on Amazon, in case you were wondering (http://www.amazon.com/Barberries-Zereshk-25-lb-Plastic/dp/B009AWKH98)
Heat up 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a small pan add the berries, almonds, sugar, 1/2 a teaspoon saffron and stir for a couple of minutes until the berries are soft. It’s ready to be mixed together with the rice when the rice is ready.
Rice and Berries
- 4 cups rice
- 2 cups dried berberis aggregate (zereshk), rinsed
- 1/2 cup almond, peeled and sliced
- 1 teaspoon saffron
- 1/2 tablespoon sugar
- 4 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 chicken breast, chopped
- 2 long carrots
- 1/2 cup fresh fennel, chopped
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic gloves, chopped
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 tablespoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 can of tomato sauce
- Heat up the oil in a medium pan and lightly fry the chicken with the onion and garlic.
- Add the spices, salt, carrots, fennel and celery and stir for a minute or two.
- Add the water and the tomato source, cover the pan and let it cook for about 25 minutes.