Baked Persian Rice (Tahchin)

Tahchin Morgh is a delicious comfort food with an elegant presentation without too much fuss. There are different types of Tahchin in Persian cuisine and all of them involve layering rice and some type of meat with other ingredients.  Tahchin Morgh has a simple technique; basically it is aromatic fluffy rice layered with cooked chicken. What makes it special is that chicken thighs, or drumsticks, or a combination of the two are cooked with pieces of onion, salt, pepper and little water until the meat falls off the bone, then it is layered with cooked rice. Choosing chicken pieces with bone and the use of small amount of water is the way to cook very flavorful chicken with an extremely rich broth to steam the rice with.

Recipe adapted from ‘Taste of Persia,’ by Naomi Duguid

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes, plus cooling, marinating and soaking time

Cook Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes, plus cooling, marinating and soaking time


For the Filling:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ medium yellow onion, minced

1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon salt

2 teaspoons dried orange peel

½ cup plain whole yogurt

1 egg

For the Rice:

3 cups basmati rice, rinsed

3 tablespoons kosher salt, divided

1 stick unsalted butter, melted, divided

For the Topping:

1 cup dried barberries

Parsley leaves, for garnish


1. Up to 24 hours before serving, make the filling: In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally until opaque, 10 minutes. Add the lemon juice and salt, and cook, partially covered, over medium-low heat until cooked, 10 minutes more. Remove from the heat and let cool.

2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, add the dried orange peel and cover with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes, then drain. Return the peel to the saucepan and cover again with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Drain and mince.

3. In a medium bowl, mix the minced orange peel with the yogurt. Add the cooled chicken and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours.

4. Meanwhile, prepare the rice: Preheat the oven to 375°. Two hours before the chicken is finished marinating, place the rice in a large bowl with 2 tablespoons of the salt and cover with water. Let the rice soak for 2 hours, then drain.

5. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat and season with the remaining tablespoon of salt. Add the rice and cook until tender, but still chewy, 5 minutes, then drain.

6. Meanwhile, strain the chicken mixture of its marinade and reserve the marinating liquid in a medium bowl. Whisk in the egg until smooth. Add 3 cups of the cooked basmati rice and stir to coat.

7. Grease a nonstick, ovenproof 12-inch pot with 2 tablespoons of the melted butter. Lay the marinade-coated rice on the bottom of the pot and press the rice up the sides of the pot by 1½ inches. Distribute the chicken pieces over the rice, leaving a 1-inch border, then top with the remaining cooked rice. Drizzle the remaining melted butter over the top layer of rice.

8. Cover the pot tightly with a lid or foil and bake the rice for 45 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350° and bake for 45 minutes more.

9. Fill your sink with 2 inches of cold water and place the pot into the water for 5 minutes; this will help the rice release from the sides of pot. Remove from the sink and use a paring knife to separate the rice from the pot. Place a large plate or platter over the pot and invert the two so the tahchin falls onto the plate. Spoon the dried barberries on and around the tahchin, then garnish with parsley leaves and serve.


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