Tah-Chin - Upside Down Layered Saffron Rice & Chicken
2 1/2 cups long grain basmati rice, rinsed and soaked in water with 1-2 tablespoons of salt for 2 hours. Drain before cooking.
3 eggs, yolks only
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon ground saffron, dissolved in 3-4 tablespoons of hot water
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 large onion, peeled, and thinly sliced
A pinch of turmeric
Salt and pepper to taste
2-3 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
2-3 tablespoons chicken stock *optional
Garnish: barberries, slivered almonds or pistachios *optional
- Place the raw chicken breasts in a pot along with onion. Add turmeric, salt and pepper to taste. Add a cup of water, bring to boil on medium-high heat, lower the heat, cover and cook for an hour on medium-low heat. Set aside to cool. Remove the bones if other parts of chicken are going to be used. Bone removal is easier if it's done after cooking. Cut the chicken into small pieces.
- Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large pot on medium-high heat, add the rice and boil for about 10 minutes or until rice grains are soft on the ends and firm in the center. Drain and pour some cool water over it to wash away the starch and to separate the rice grains. This cool water rinse helps bring about a more fluffy rice. Set aside.
- In a medium size mixing bowl combine yogurt, yolks, salt and pepper. Mix well.
- Add 2 cups of rice to the yogurt mixture, blend well.
- In a nonstick pan that's not too deep, place butter and a tablespoon of liquid saffron. Move the pan in a circular motion to cover the bottom uniformly. Ladle 2/3 of the rice and yogurt mix into the pan, flatten with a wooden spoon, layer chicken pieces evenly and cover the entire surface. Pour the rest of the yogurt mix over the chicken pieces. Add the remaining rice, flatten the top with the back of a large spoon while pressing down. Pour chicken stock and the remaining liquid saffron over the rice.
- Place the pot on medium-high heat. When you notice a steam coming up, lower the heat, cover and cook for one hour until the crust forms and the flavors come together. Since there's yogurt and egg yolk at the bottom of the pan it can easily burn, so adjust the heat setting of your stove accordingly.
Tah-chin goes well with plain yogurt, yogurt and cucumber dip, salad Shirazi, or torshi.