Inspired by Persian tahchin, this Crispy Golden Saffron Rice is a stunning entree full of rich flavor! This rice colored with saffron is a nourishing dinner pretty enough for a holiday table. Totally vegan!
The History and Origins of Saffron Rice and Yellow Rices
It is important to note first and foremost that I am not an authority on Persian cuisine or these traditional methods. I have a great uncle who is from Iran and thus was fortunate to experience my great aunt’s Persian recipes at a young age. However, I have never visited Iran and have a lot more to learn about the culture. This recipe is a plant-based take on a centuries-old dish, I definitely am taking liberties in the name of experimentation and creativity. I am trying to educate myself as much as possible and encourage you to do the same. For authentic Persian recipes, feel free to check out Cooking with Zahra, Family Spice,and Persian Mama.
I will say I had fun researching this recipe! Interestingly, there are many versions of yellow rice across cultures; Spanish, Moroccan, Peruvian, Caribbean, Portuguese, Filipino, Afghan, Indian, Sri Lankan, South African and Indonesian cuisines all have some variation of it. Typically, it is made with a form of white rice made yellow with annatto, saffron, or turmeric.
What is tahchin?
Sometimes referred to as tachin, tahchin is a baked saffron rice dish traditionally made with basmati rice, yogurt, eggs, and saffron. It can be layered with other ingredients including vegetables and meats. Today’s recipe is a plant-based spin on this, substituting vegan yogurt and coconut milk for traditional yogurt and ground flaxseeds for normal eggs.
What is tahdig?
In Farsi, the word tahdig (pronounced tah-DEEG) means “bottom of the pot” (Persian: ته دیگ, tah “bottom” + dīg “pot”). This refers to the crispy layer of rice that forms on the bottom of this savory rice “cake.” This makes sense once you see the cooking variation used – the rice on the bottom layer of the pan becomes very crispy when flipped upside down onto a plate for serving.
How to Make Vegan Tahchin
The process for making crispy saffron rice is fairly simple:
- Rinse the rice to remove excess starch.
- Par-boil the rice for 7 minutes and drain. While rice is boiling, you’ll steep the saffron in hot water to produce that vibrant orange color!
- Next, you’ll finish the wet mixture with saffron, yogurt, coconut milk, lemon juice, and oil. This will be mixed into your parboiled rice (pictured above) poured into an oven safe baking dish, covered and baked.
- Once the rice is nice and golden, you’ll remove it from the oven, invert onto a serving plate, and dig in! I topped mine with pomegranate, chickpeas, and parsley but I offer some more traditional topping options in the recipe below.
I hope you enjoy this inspired take on Persian tahchin! If you’re looking for more uses for rice, Feel free to try Vegan Rice Pudding next!Print