Each ethnicity has that one dish for which they’re famous. Indian? Likely tikka masala. Chinese? Likely dumplings (although chow mein noodles are up there as well). El Salvadorian? Papusa. German? Bratwurst. Moroccan? Tagine. Persian? Basmati rice. Don’t get me wrong. Ghormeh sabzi, fesenjan, gheymeh - they’re all incredible standalone dishes. But when served on a bed of basmati rice, they become that much better.
Why Basmati Rice?
Basmati rice works best for Persian dishes because it is a long grain type of rice. Long grain rice allows each grain to keep its shape while steaming, preventing the rice from getting mushy or sticking together (like Chinese white rice). Short grains, on the other hand, tend to stick together, preventing you from reaching a final delicious product that ends up being fluffy with separated grains.
How to Prepare Persian Basmati Rice
Rice, water, oil and salt are the necessary ingredients to properly make Persian basmati rice. Saffron provides an added benefit of beautifying the appearance of the basmati rice and adding some additional flavor. Begin by washing and rinsing the basmati rice twice, which will help get rid of extra starch in the rice. Next, bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Once it has started boiling, add some salt and pour in the rice. Cook the rice for about 7 minutes. Now, this is where you put your taste testing skills to the test. Take out a grain of the basmati rice and taste it, focusing on texture. It should be soft on the edges and firm in the middle, as we’ll be cooking it again.
Now, using a colander with small holes, strain the basmati rice and pour cold water over it. Doing this will allow the cooking process to stop. Feel free to wash and re-use your original pot, or bring out a new pot. Put it on the stove and pour 1/8 cup vegetable or grapeseed oil in it, ensuring the entire base of the pot is covered. This is the part where you could add some saffron if you’d please, either for appearance, fragrance or taste purposes.
Transfer the cooked rice from the colander, and slowly empty it into the pot. Cover the lid of the pot with a moist paper towel and place the lid of the pot on top. Place the pot over medium high heat for 8 to 10 minutes. The paper towel will moisten further as the steam arises.
Add about 2 tablespoons of vegetable or grapeseed oil on the rice and cover it again. Lower the heat down to medium low and steam the rice for another 30 to 40 minutes. And there it is! You’ve got yourself Persian basmati rice with a beautiful golden layer of tadig on the bottom.
So What Exactly is Tadig?
Tadig, sometimes spelled tadigh or tahdig, literally translates to “bottom of the pot” in Farsi. Others simply refer to it as Persian crispy rice. It’s different that the crispy rice you’d find in sushi restaurants, that is often topped with spicy tuna. This crispy rice comes from the bottom of the pot, and uses a small amount of oil and a bit of saffron for extra deliciousness. Over the years, iterations of tadig have also been made using bread or potatoes.
When served, tadig is usually placed flat on top of the plate of basmati rice. As such, the ordering would be basmati rice, then tadig on top, then your Persian stew on top. This allows you to experience a wide gamut of tastes, textures and flavors. You can the fluffiness of the basmati rice on the bottom, the crunchiness of the tadig on top, and the warmth of the delicious stews on top of that.
What Makes Baaz Bites’ Tadig Different
Unlike traditional tadig, which comes from the bottom of the pot, Baaz Bites’ tadig comes from mini muffin pans. They’re still packed with all the crunch of traditional tadig, but you get the added benefit of a chewy inside layer of basmati rice that perfectly contrasts with the outside crunch. They’re also baked, never fried. Just as how people dreamed about making muffin tops without having to make an entire muffin, or getting brownie corners without the entire brownie, we dreamed of making tadig without making an entire pot of basmati rice.
And believe us, people said it couldn’t be done. We had a choir of doubters who said “you can’t isolate tadig production.” But we did. And once we did that, they said “you can’t freeze tadig, re-heat it, and have it maintain its crispiness.” But we did that too. Now it’s your turn to try the tadig for yourself. Find it here and get ready to crunch away!