In one of my earlier posts I wrote about Persian macaroni. This is a revisit with a focus on making the ته دیگ ماکارونی macaroni tah-dig (crust at the bottom of pan), where the noodles meet the hot oil with a pinch of turmeric and form a flavorful and golden crunchy layer at the bottom of the pan. A good tah-dig is crispy but not burned, crunchy but not hard. Those of you who are familiar with Persian food know that tah-dig is one of the most sought-after parts of a rice dish. Personally, I prefer the flavorful tah-dig over the fluffy and aromatic rice! Noodles also make a delicious tah-dig when making pasta. If by any chance the tah-dig turns out a bit harder than what you expected it to be, pour a spoonful of sauce over it and spread to soften it a bit before biting into it. Here's a link to my other tah dig recipe : The Art of Making Persian Tah-Dig.
For a family of six kids, simple and easy macaroni (Persian style pasta with ground meat and tomato sauce) always had a place on our dinner table while growing up. It was one of my favorite dishes then and now I enjoy making it for my family. Back home, my mother always cooked pasta with the hollow spaghetti noodles (bucatini). I liked those hollow noodles and I've looked for them many times in the past while grocery shopping but I haven't seen them on the shelves anywhere. It seems that they aren't as popular as the other kinds of noodle varieties here.
1 pound ground beef
1 pound spaghetti pasta
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large tomato, skin removed and diced
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can of tomato sauce (16 ounces)
1/3 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Salt and pepper
- In a large skillet heat 3 tablespoons of oil, add onions ad saute onion over medium-high heat heat until translucent. Add the garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add turmeric, stir and continue cooking for another minute or two before adding the beef. Break the beef into tiny pieces with a fork and brown. Scoop out any excess fat. Salt and pepper to taste. Add in the tomatoes and the tomato sauce and 1/2 cup of water. Cover and cook on medium-low heat for 20-30 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
- In the meantime, bring large pot of water to boil and cook the noodles according to the package instructions but drain 2-3 minutes before it becomes al-dente, since they'll cook further later on when combined with the sauce in the same pot.
- In a non-stick heavy-bottomed pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil, add a pinch of turmeric and swirl the pot around to evenly coat the bottom. Add a layer of the noodles, then a layer of the meat sauce, and continue layering till both the sauce and the noodles are done. Place a clean and soft kitchen towel between the pot and the lid. Close tightly and cook on medium to low heat for about 45-50 minutes. The longer you cook it, the thicker the crust but you also don't want to risk getting it burned.
- To serve, place a large serving platter over the pot, and with a kitchen towel hold on to the sides of the pot and carefully turn over the pot to get the pasta with it's tah-dig intact and in one piece. Cut into it as if you are cutting a slice of a cake. Or, spoon noodles and the sauce mixture onto a platter and sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley. Remove the crust gently and place on the side of the platter or on a separate dish.
I've had this before and it is so tasty. My favorite part is the crunchy macaroni bits. Thanks for sharing.ReplyDelete
I can see this dish being a total children favourite! In Italy we cook something surprisingly similar, which is also a child's favourite, only we get the crunchy bit by baking in the oven. I think though that with your method you'll get much more crunchy part, which is great, given that it is my favourite as well.ReplyDelete
Oh how I love love love this!! Thank you for bringing back childhood memories! :)ReplyDelete
I couldn't agree more, My Persian Kitchen. The instant I saw those photos, the memories came flooding in!ReplyDelete
As always, thank you so much Azita. This blog takes me back home :)
Would it work the same with rice noodles?ReplyDelete
Anonymous- Yes, it should and let me know how it goes.ReplyDelete
I got finally the hang of tah dig with rice and was proud of myself when I could make it look perfect; but I have never seen macaroni tah dig. Love it! Looks beautiful!ReplyDelete
Good... it's similar! Spaghetti al forno.. an italian recipe!ReplyDelete
i added cumin to the recipe when i browned the meat and it added a nice dimension to the recipe. I can not wait to try some more of the recipesReplyDelete
I always loved when my beloved mother made this dish. We always used cheese though while doing the layering and these days I get creative and sometimes use feta, sometimes goat cheese or sometimes just plain sharp cheddar. One thing to note: you say you put in the turmeric on the onion and then add the meat. We always add turmeric to the meat. I guess it is personal preference? Thanks for your great website.ReplyDelete
Poppy, I used to add turmeric to the meat too. However, a few years ago I started adding it to the onions while frying. I believe it makes the meat taste better and gets the meaty smell out faster.Delete
This was amazing. Had one problem though followed everything but my tadig was stuck and I had to scrap it out. Any suggestions?ReplyDelete
My suggestion is to use a nonstick pan and also add a little more oil to the bottom of the pan.Delete
How long do you let this dish cook an electric Rice Cooking Pot that makes Tah-Dig automatically? Tnx.ReplyDelete
It depends on the type of the rice cooker and if it makes the bottom crust or not. Please check your rice cooker's manual. I would say 10-15 additional minutes after the rice is fully cooked.Delete
Hi, I'd love to try this but I have banished non stick pans from the house because I have a parrot and the fumes can be deadly. Is it possible to use a normal pan without it sticking to the bottom and burning? Love your site, I am newly addicted to persian spices!ReplyDelete
Jen, thank you so much! You'll need a thick heavy-bottom pan. Try not to overheat the pan and don't overcook.Delete
You can also line the bottom with parchment paperDelete
Fantastic , thank you so muchReplyDelete