A signature Persian dish gets the rice cooker treatment
Tahdig so easy, you barely have to lift a finger.
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Sohail Zandi is the executive chef and owner of Brushland Eating House. His light-hearted approach to cooking and dining, paired with a reverence for his Iranian heritage, has earned Brushland numerous accolades. Sohail’s penchant for adventure has manifested as stints in Paris, Martha’s Vineyard, and New Orleans, although he's fondest of feeding his wife, daughter, and neighbors in their mountain town of Bovina, New York, which is where you’ll find him most.
Rice was a staple in our home growing up—my mother cooked Iranian food that was almost always served with heaps of rice to soak up all of those bright, tangy flavors of stewed grains and meat. I remember when my mother first discovered the rice cooker. It allowed her to make her signature dish, tahdig, with so much ease and better consistency, taking out the variables of pots, lids, and the temptation to mess with any of it.
Suddenly, the guess work was gone and we could have perfect tahdig every time. Take a cue from the queen herself, my mother, and lean into the rice cooker’s magic.
What You Need
2 cups long grain basmati rice
8 quarts water, divided
¼ cup kosher salt, divided
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 pinch saffron
Rice cooker, like Reviewed’s favorite, the Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Logic Rice Cooker and Warmer
Large mixing bowl
Large serving spoon
2 to 3 hours
Serves 4 to 6
How to make Rice Cooker Tahdig
Step 1: Soak the rice
In a large bowl, soak the rice in three quarts of room temperature water and half of the salt for one to three hours.
Step 2: Par-cook the rice
Once your rice has soaked for at least an hour, strain the rice into a colander and rinse with cold water. Bring five quarts of water to boil in the stock pot, adding the rest of the salt. Once the water is boiling, add the rice and reduce to a simmer. Cook for eight to 10 minutes or until the rice is just tender. Pour the rice into the colander to strain and rinse with cold water.
Step 3: Use the rice cooker
Turn rice cooker on and add butter, canola oil, saffron, and two tablespoons of water. Once the butter has melted, spoon the rice into the cooker, close the lid, and cook rice according to your rice cooker’s instructions. When the machine tells you the rice is done, you’ll need to cook it for an additional 10 minutes by keeping the cook button engaged. After 10 minutes, turn the machine off, and flip the rice onto a plate, and serve.
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