Tahchin (or how you need to cook your chicken thighs!)


Here is a great recipe from persianmama.com that I made the other night.  Chicken thighs can be a little tougher than the rest of the bird, but when cooked correctly they are tender and  flavorful!

Serves 8
Temperature: Preheated 400 F oven, the lowest rack
Bake time: 1 hour 15 minutes
You will need one 9 x 13 x 2 glass baking dish and one rectangular platter larger than the baking dish
Author: Homa
Recipe type: Rice/Tahchin
Cuisine: Persian
  • 3 ½ – 4 pounds skinless chicken thighs and/or drumsticks (about 8-10)
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut into several pieces
  • 1 ½ cups cold water
  • 4 cups uncooked basmati rice (I substituted 1 cup with Jasmine rice for added aroma)
  • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1 large egg
  • ⅛ tsp saffron powder (optional)
  • 6 TBSP vegetable oil, divided (1 TBSP for TahDig mixture and 5 TBSP for the baking dish)
  • 5 TBSP butter
  • 1 tsp Persian Rice Spice
  • 3 TBSP cold butter, cut into small cubes
  1. To cook the chicken: Add the skinless chicken pieces to a stockpot with a good lid that will not allow too much moisture loss. Add salt, pepper, the cut onion and 1 ½ cups water. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and cook for about 1 ½ hours, or until the chicken falls apart very easily with a fork.
  2. Remove the chicken from the stockpot and set aside to cool.
  3. If there is more than 1 cup of broth in the stockpot, bring it to a boil and let it boil for 3-5 minutes, or until it is reduced to 1 cup. Turn off the heat. Pour the reduced broth into a medium bowl, smash the cooked onions with a fork and set aside.
  4. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, take all the meat off the bone in large chunks. Mix the meat with broth until it is well coated. Chill the meat and broth mixture in the refrigerator for at least 30-40 minutes, or until the broth solidifies. This step may be done up to 3-4 hours in advance.
  5. To make the rice; Follow my previous blog post Persian Steamed Rice using 4 cups of basmati rice up to point where the rice is partially cooked, added to colander and rinsed under cold water and drained completely. Set aside.
  6. To make the Tahchin: Place the oven rack at the lowest setting. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  7. In a medium bowl whisk together 1 egg, 1 cup yogurt, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and the optional saffron. Stir in 2 cups of the par cooked rice with a rubber spatula and mix until all the rice is coated. Set aside
  8. Add 5 tablespoons vegetable oil and 5 tablespoons butter to a 9 x 13 x 2 inch glass baking dish. Place the dish in the preheated oven 3-5 minutes, or until all the butter melts and starts sizzling. Watch very closely so the oil does not get too hot and cause a grease fire.
  9. Using mittens transfer the baking dish to a heat proof surface.
  10. First layer: Add the rice and yogurt mixture to the baking dish and spread evenly to cover the bottom of the dish.
  11. Second layer: Spread half of the remaining rice evenly on top of the yogurt mixture and sprinkle the rice layer with ½ teaspoon Persian Rice Spice.
  12. Third layer: Stir the chilled chicken and broth well and arrange evenly on top to cover all of the rice layer.
  13. Fourth layer: Add the rest of the rice on top of the chicken, press gently with the palm of your hand. Sprinkle with ½ tsp Persian Rice Spice.
  14. Arrange the cold butter cubes on the rice layer with equal distance from each other.
  15. Cover the baking dish with a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil and seal the sides by pressing the aluminum foil to the dish. Use a sharp knife to cut one slit on each corner and then a few in the center of the dish.
  16. Bake on the lowest rack of the preheated 400 F oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the lowest portion of the sides of Tahchin are golden brown. Do not overbake; the bottom will bake darker than the sides. Since the oven temperatures vary, you may have to adjust the baking time the first time that you bake this Tahchin. If the lower sides are not golden brown, return the Tahchin back to the oven and bake for another 7-10 minutes, or until it is golden brown.
  17. Remove the baking dish from the oven, remove the aluminum foil. Run a knife along the sides of the baking dish to release the Tahchin. Place a large rectangular platter or a shallow baking sheet on top of the dish. Use mittens and hold both platter and the glass dish and invert the Tahchin. Let the Tahchin sit on the counter for 10 minutes.
  18. Use a serrated knife to cut the Tahchin into 8 equal pieces and serve with Sabzi Khordan (fresh herbs), Torshi Sir (pickled garlic), and/or Salad Shirazi.
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