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Tahchin Traybake

Oh tahchin. The dish that speaks to the many hearts of the Persians (and non-Persians). The tahdig is essentially the crispy base of a rice cake that people fight over, THERE’S NEVER ENOUGH.

So I wanted to just make that part. You can double up the ingredients to make it thicker, I made it into more of a snack. It’s crispy, fluffy and very aromatic and it makes a good snack or side to a dish.

1 c basmati rice, white or brown - soaked*

1/4 tsp saffron threads, ground if possible

3 tbsp boiling water

1 tbsp salt, plus more

1 egg

2 tbsp greek yogurt

Put the saffron in a bowl and add 3 tbsp fresh boiling water, allow to steep and set aside.

Before soaking the rice, place it in a sieve and rinse under warm water, using your hands to help wash the grains until the water runs clear.

If you have soaked your rice, give it another quick rinse then add to a pot of boiling water and boil while giving the occasional stir to prevent sticking. Cook for 15-25 minutes, depending on whether it’s been soaked or until the rice is soft but has a little bite to it (al dente).

Drain the rice in the sieve and rinse with cold water.

Preheat oven to 200c. Generously* grease a 35cm x 25cm glass* oven dish with ghee or oil and set aside.

In a large bowl whisk the saffron, egg, yogurt and salt to taste. Mix in your drained rice and gently fold in, making sure all grains are coated.

Pour the mixture into the prepared dish and press down firmly using a flat tool or your hands.

Cover well using foil and bake for about 70-80 minutes or until you can see the crust is a toasted golden brown colour. Allow to sit on the counter for 15 minutes then gently run a knife around the edges and slice into squares. Serve warm and enjoy!

* I recommend soaking the rice for at least an hour (better overnight). This helps get rid of the phytic acid in the grain and will help improve digestibility as well as speed up cooking time.

*When I say be generous, BE GENEROUS, you don’t want the rice to stick. *Use glass if possible as this will help you check the colour of the crust while baking. Don’t worry if the size isn’t exactly those measurements, use what you can. Or possibly use two separate dishes.

You can substitute non dairy yogurt.

It's possible to omit the egg and add extra yogurt instead, I haven't yet tried that with this recipe.

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