It’s been a few months since I discovered tahdig and I’ve played with the recipe many times since then. I promised you a Persian Shepard’s Pie recipe with Tahdig.
I’ve discovered a few things along the way. Here I’ll show you a few variations that I’ve made but you should set your imagination free! This is really a process and not a heavily regimented set of rules.
Rice and Other Starches
Using all rice, even brown rice is too starchy for me. So I’ve successfully used all brown rice and half rice/half quinoa.
The version I like the best uses a thin layer of cooked rice pressed into the bottom of the pan to give you the crispy layer on the finished tahdig. Then you can fill the center with whatever you like. It’s a leftover repurposer with a crispy rice shell! I like to use cooked quinoa mixed with roasted vegetables and cooked protein.
Don’t feel like you have to stay true to the recipe’s persian heritage. My favorite so far was a take off on Spanish rice stuffed with cooked chicken. Top with guacamole when ever possible.
Hint: Sprinkle a little lemon or lime juice over your rice for a zesty kick!
Do not cook shrimp and other shellfish in the tahdig the whole time. It will over cook and you can reuse it as a rubber ball! You can add it at the very end and let it steam for 5 minutes or cook it separately and serve it on top of the tahdig.
- 1 cup cooked rice for crispy layer
- 3 tablespoons refined coconut oil, ghee, or olive oil
- 3 cups cooked rice or quinoa for center
- 2 cups cooked protein (not seafood)
- 2 cups cooked vegetables
- Form the thin crispy rice layer: Heat a deep 8-inch cast-iron skillet or non-stick pan over low heat for a few minutes. Add the oil, swirl to coat the pan. Spread the rice in a thin layer evenly over the bottom of the pan, and pack it down tightly with an offset spatula or large wooden spoon. Sprinkle the sea salt over the rice.
- Mix your cooked quinoa, protein and vegetables and spread them evenly over the pressed rice.
- Cook the tahdig: Cover and turn the heat up to medium-high. Cook the rice for 10 minutes, then turn down the heat to very low and place a clean dish towel under the lid to catch condensation, and cover the pan tightly. Don't let the towel near the burner. I used a rubber band to contain the four corners of the towel on top of the lid. If you have a heat difuser, put it between the burner and the bottom of the skillet to disperse the cooking heat. Cook for 50 minutes.
- Serve tahdig: Carefully lift the lid from the pan. There will be condensation trapped under the lid, so avoid tilting it over the rice. Loosen the sides of the tahdig with a spatula and flip it onto a plate. Garnish with parsley and/or tomato onion jam.