Crispy coconut and lemon rice (tahdig)

Tahdig, a pan-fried layer of crunchy golden crust at the bottom of aromatic coconut and lemon rice is definitely worth fighting for

Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on facebook
Share
Share on email
Email

A crispy, crackling crust that forms at the bottom of the pan while cooking rice is called ‘tahdig’ in Persian cuisine. Considering that rice makes for such an integral dish in a Persian cuisine, it is an art to make a rice that is perfectly fluffy with an evenly golden layer of tahdig that one can either serve as a whole or in pieces. A google search will yield delicious results of tahdig made of aromatic saffron rice or thinly sliced rounds of potatoes or even a day old lavash bread. It is the prized part of the rice dish – just like that ooey gooey stretchy cheese on top of a pizza or to hit the right note – that almost burnt chocolate remains of the sizzling brownie served on a hot sizzler plate.

Though I am partial to Persian tahdig, these crispy crunchy rice ‘crackers’ can be found in many other cuisines. Take bibimbap, the ever-popular Korean rice dish for example. The dolsot bibimbap – the bibimbap that is served in a hot stone/ceramic/clay bowl has an additional layer of texture due to crispy, almost burnt rice at the bottom of the bowl.

Inspired by the technique of tahdig, my recipe calls for a buttery coconut and lemon rice with a crackling crust of golden rice at the bottom of the pan. If you have followed me on Instagram or Facebook, you would have seen or rather heard the crackle as I cut through the ‘pie’ of coconut and lemon rice. It is seriously mind blowing crispy!! The crispy coconut and lemon rice is delicious on its own or served with a spicy, hot curry or with my hung curd dip with garlic oil or a mint yogurt chutney.

 

Achieving a perfectly golden tahdig is an art and a slightly tricky part of the recipe. However, keeping in mind the following pointers will help you to enjoy the crispy deliciousness.

  1. This recipe will work best with a non-stick pan. I have tried this with the well seasoned cast iron pan and it cooks beautifully, however the pie does not come away in one whole piece.
  2. There are two components to this dish. The bottom layer of rice mixed with a slurry of curd + butter among other things and the top layer of rice mixed with aromats and cashews. Pressing the slurry layer first followed by the rice layer gently but firmly in the pan will ensure a pie like structure at the end of the cook.
  3. I would definitely call this recipe as a customizable except the slurry. The flavours of the rice can be played around with but substituting any ingredient in the slurry may not yield the similar result of achieving that perfect golden crunch.
  4. Slow and low cooking is the key to that crunch. It is therefore important to cook the rice on a low flame throughout to get a golden crispy layer at the bottom.
  5. I would also suggest to take the cooking time mentioned as an estimated time here as criteria for low flame with each gas stove varies. I had a perfectly golden layer at a 21-minute mark. Let your ears and nose guide you here better than the clock. Once the rice is done, you will be able to hear a faint crackling sound with a buttery coconutty smell.

I hope these pointers help you to enjoy this creamy yet crispy rice. Do make it and tag me with your creation on social media. I would love to know your take on it.

Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on facebook
Share
Share on email
Email

Let me know how this recipe turned out for you by writing to me in the comments below. And if you take a picture, please tag me on my instagram handle @acookwithin to share your creation😊 It would make my day!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

SUBSCRIBE AND GET AN ALERT VIA EMAIL FOR ALL NEW RECIPES