Potato Tah Dig
I write it as 'tah-dig.' You may write 'tahdig'/'tahdeeg', however, it's pronounced tadeeg. "Tah" means bottom and "dig" means pot in Persian/Farsi language. Tah-dig refers to the crunchy and crispy bottom layer of rice cooked in a pot. The formation of tah-dig is a perfect symphony between the right temperature, the amount of oil, aromatic rice, length of time, right kind of pan, some experience and a little patience. If you don't achieve the best kind of tah-dig the first time, don't worry. There's always the next rice dish you can experiment with. Since rice is a staple of Iranian cooking that's how we have eventually been able to conquer the art of making tah-dig. As the old adage goes: "practice makes perfect!" And if this is any consolation, let me tell you that even experienced cooks falter sometimes.
Lavash Bread Tah Dig
Tah dig-e Reshteh Polow
There are many kinds of tah-dig. The most well known is the rice tah-dig. There's also potato tah-dig (my favorite) which goes well with rice and chicken dishes. If you choose to layer the bottom of the pan with potato slices, cut them evenly and not too thin. Add a dash of salt after layering them, wait for a few minutes till they are a little bit fried then turn them over and pour the rice over the potatoes and follow the same steps as the rice tah-dig recipe. There's also the bread tah-dig. Any kind of flat bread could be used such as lavash or pita. I've had lettuce ta-dig too. It's very delicious. Then there's the very tasty macaroni tah-dig. A fantastic combination of crispy noodles, fresh tomatoes, and flavorful meat sauce.
Rice and Tah-dig
2 1/2 cups long grain white basmati rice
Butter or vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon powdered saffron dissolved in 3 tablespoons of hot water
- In a large bowl wash the rice with cool water a few times to get rid of the extra starch and pour the water out. Soak the rice in 8 cups of cool water, add 3 tablespoons of salt and set aside for at least a couple of hours.
- In a large non-stick pot that has a tight fitting lid, bring 8 cups of water to a rapid boil on medium-high heat.
- Drain the soaked rice and pour into the boiling water. Bring the water back to a boil on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes or until the grains are long soft on the outside and hard in the center. Drain the rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse with cool water a few times.
- Wash the rice pot with water and and return to heat. Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon of liquid saffron to the bottom of the pot, move the pan in a circular motion or use a wooden spoon to evenly cover the bottom with oil.
- Remove from heat and with a large spatula return the parboiled rice back into the pot, building it into a pyramid shape away from the sides of the pot.
- In order to release the steam make 4-5 holes in the rice with the handle of the wooden spatula. Place the pot back on the stove on medium-high heat, uncovered.
- Wait about 7-10 minutes or until steam starts coming out of the pot.
- Gently pour 2 tablespoons oil, 1/4 cup and saffron over the rice, cover, lower the heat and steam the rice for an hour.
- It is very customary to cover the lid with a kitchen towel or 2-3 layers of thick paper towels to prevent the moisture from going back in the pot. Nowadays, there are fabric lid coverings especially made for this purpose in Iran. I do recommend using it for making a perfect tah-dig.