Tahdig is, without a doubt, Persian cuisine’s most iconic dish. Despite Persian food’s limited notoriety in the mainstream market, most individuals have come to love and appreciate tahdig for its delicious crisp - it truly is crisped to perfection! In Farsi, tahdig means “bottom of the pot.” That’s because tahdig cooks to absolute perfection at the bottom of the pot. Note that we said bottom of the pot, and not bottom of the pot of basmati rice. And that’s what this post is all about! While tahdig is most commonly associated with the thin layer of crispy, golden basmati rice that forms at the bottom of the pot when making an entire pot of basmati rice, tahdig actually comes in a variety of different forms. For example, there’s pasta tahdig, there’s potato tahdig and there’s lavash tahdig, just to name a few of the less commonly referred to types.
Regardless of what tahdig you’re trying to make, it takes a couple attempts in the kitchen to perfect the art. And trust us, tahdig is truly an art. While you may get frustrated at first, we encourage you to keep trying, as having tahdig as the centerpiece of your next meal at home is guaranteed to impress your guests and have them wanting more!
So, without further ado, let us introduce you to the 4 different types of tahdig:
1) Crispy Basmati Rice Tahdig
There truly is no tahdig quite like the classic crispy basmati rice tahdig. Whether you’ve read up on Persian cuisine or recently made you way to a Persian restaurant, you’ve probably come across this one-of-a-kind dish. It is loved both by those who were raised eating Persian food, but also by those who are experiencing Persian food for the first time.
As we’ve discussed, Persian cuisine is enamored with basmati rice. In fact, there are a ton of different Persian basmati rice based dishes that are classic staples in Persian cuisine. For example, sabzi polo is a dish consisting of rice, dill and green peas or fava beans. Adas polo consists of basmati rice, lentils and hints of saffron. Albaloo polo consists of basmati rice, sour cherries and pistachios. While each of these dishes is unique in its own right, they share one consistent factor (if prepared correctly)... each produces a perfectly crisped thin layer of basmati rice at the bottom of the pot. Therefore, the rice dish being prepared doesn’t simply have to be plain white basmati rice to make tahdig. In fact, you can make any Persian basmati rice dish, whether it’s havij polo, adas polo or sabzi polo, to arrive at the perfect tahdig. True, some will be crunchier than others, given the inclusions in some of the rice dishes can prevent the bottom layer of tahdig from forming that thin layer of crispiness. However, when prepared at the right temperature, the oil at the bottom of the pot will sizzle with just the rice amount of heat to form a culinary masterpiece!
Tahdig is often enjoyed on its own, and is the first dish to disappear from the dinner table. However, it’s often paired with a Persian stew. The three stews which are most commonly served alongside tahdig are ghormeh sabzi, gheymeh and fesenjan. However, there are a variety of different Persian stews that pair very well with tahdig and rice. In Persian restaurants, you’ll see that one of their classic dishes is “khorest bah tahdig,” or tahdig paired with stew. Just one bite and you’ll see why this is the perfect combination.
When looking at pictures of tahdig, you’ll see that it’s not usually a plain white color, like the basmati rice from which it is made. Instead, it has a golden hue to it, making it look like a true royal dish. Tahdig arrives at its golden color either from the saffron or turmeric with which the oil at the bottom of the pot is mixed with. As a result, when the oil sizzles with the rice, it gives off a beautiful color that makes this dish as attractive as it is delicious.
2) Lavash Bread Tahdig
While classic crispy basmati rice tahdig will always be a crowd favorite, lavash tahdig is at the top of the list as well. In fact, in Samin Nosrat’s 10 Essential Persian Food Recipes, she lists tahdig with bread as number one on her list, instead of the classic basmati rice tahdig. You can check out Samin’s recipe for lavash bread tahdig here. The preparation for lavash bread tahdig is quite similar to basmati rice tahdig… in fact, all tahdig is prepared nearly identically. It’s just a matter of what ingredient you put at the bottom of the pot to sizzle with the oil. So in lavash bread tahdig, you place a thin layer of bread on top of the oil once the oil has come to sizzle, and then pour in the remainder of your basmati rice. Your final product is absolute perfection… a basmati rice base with a beautiful layer of tahdig on top, in this case lavash bread tahdig.
3) Pasta Tahdig
While pasta is by no means a Persian dish, Persians have claimed pasta tahdig as their own. Pasta tahdig is often a childhood favorite in any Persian household. Like the other two types of tahdig, once the oil has come to sizzle, spread your pasta noodles, whether it’s spaghetti or penne, at the bottom of your pot. Mix with a hint of tomato sauce. Then, once the bottom layer has started to crisp, pour in the remainder of your pasta noodles. Once you’ve made pasta with tahdig, you won’t be going back to your traditional pasta-making ways. You’ll thank us later for this one.
4) Potato Tahdig
Lastly, but surely not least, there’s potato tahdig. You’ve probably enjoyed crispy potatoes in french fry form, but it’s unlikely that you’ve ever enjoyed the magic of potato tahdig. Once you’ve got your oil mixed with turmeric to sizzle at the bottom of the pot, evenly spread out your thinly slice potatoes evenly across the bottom of the pot. You can then fill the rest of the pot with any type of Persian rice dish, such as plain white basmati rice or sabzi polo, or with spaghetti.
A Final Word About Tahdig
The thing about tahdig is that it’s a very delicate item. By that, we mean that it needs to be prepared just right, with just the right amount of oil and with the perfect amount of heat, to arrive at perfect crispiness. Once it’s been prepared, it needs to be eaten immediately after being removed from the pot. Leaving it out will cause it to soften and lose its heat. Re-heating it will cause it to completely lose its crisp. Also, when preparing tahdig, you’ve got to make an entire pot to arrive at that one thin layer of crispiness. Whether it’s a pot of pasta or rice, tahdig unfortunately comes out in much more limited quantities than the item that is being prepared.
All of these reasons are what inspired us to, for the first time ever, create a fifth type of tahdig! That’s right… never before has tahdig been transformed until Baaz Bites. Our crispy basmati rice cups deliver you all the magic of tahdig without any of the work! All you’ve got to do is pop them in the oven, and you’ve got golden, crispy basmati rice perfection all for yourself.
We’ve prepared tahdig in a manner that allows us to freeze our crispy rice cups, re-heat them, and get them back to their same, original level of crispiness. Gone are the days of stale tahdig. Gone are the days of burnt tahdig. Gone are the days of fighting for that last piece of tahdig at the dinner table. With Baaz Bites, you’re guaranteed to have your basmati rice cups at the perfect crisp each and every time, and enough to share with all (or to enjoy all for yourself...we won’t tell).
You’ll also be able to pair each of your crispy rice cups with a delectable vegetarian Persian stew. Whether you’re in the mood for ghormeh sabzi, tahdig, or gheymeh, these stew toppings are the perfect partner for your crispy basmati rice cups.Tahdig is one of Persian cuisine’s most iconic dishes, and has been for centuries upon centuries. We thought it was time to transform this classic and make it easier for all to enjoy. Time to (tah)dig in… see what we did there?