Okay, how could anyone teach you to make proper polow (persian rice) without mentioning tahdig? Yes, I know. Shame on me!
Tahdig ته دیگ literally means bottom of the pot and refers to the crispy bits of goodness formed in the bottom of the pot, when rice is slowly steam cooked. These chip-like delicacies are popular, and if you ever wanted to see a Persian come undone, attempt to toss the tahdig. I dare you!
To create the perfect tahdig, there is a couple of little tricks involved. With trial and error and a bit of experience, you will learn what works best with your pot, stove temperature and time.
(Pictures are coming soon. My roomy and guests are a bit shikamoo (attentive to their stomach), so I miss my chance to take appropriate pictures).
Persians have it plain or load it up with some khoresh (stew) or even yogurt, and let it sit, if the tahdig is too crusty.
- Follow instructions on how to parboil polow. Complete step 1 of steaming instructions & stop.
- Skin and cut a potato into even slices, taking care not to slice too thin (1/4 to 1/2 inch thick).
- Place in the bottom of the pot in a single layer.
- Wait ’till they are slightly fried (2-3 min).
- Sprinkle with salt and turnover.
- Move on to the next steps. Don’t forget to layer the rice if making a pilaf.
- Use any kind of bread that resembles Persian naan-e lavash, and follow the same instructions as above. I have had much success with corn tortilla (pic shown above) and variety of flat breads.
- If your tahdig is burned, temperature was too high or the bread/potato was too thin.
- If you suspect your tahdig is on the verge of burning, add a bit of oil/butter directly to the bottom of the pot. If you add water, your tahdig will get soggy.
- If your tahdig isn’t crispy, crank up the heat for a minute or two.