Persians make several variations of tahdeeg, but the simplest and the most common way is to place a thin flatbread known as lavash on the bottom of the pot with butter and splashes of brewed saffron. A flour tortilla or a split pita can serve as a replacement for lavash. Very thinly sliced potatoes will also get you the crunchy texture you desire.


  • ¼ cup salt
  • 20 cups cold water, divided
  • 3 cups basmati rice
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • pinch of saffron powder or saffron threads that have been soaked in warm water (optional)
  • thin lavash bread (9- to 10-inch diameter) to cover the bottom of a 6-quart pot
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or butter

Step 1

Place the basmati rice in half the water with the salt, and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Stir several times, then drain.

Step 2

Add the remaining water and lemon juice to a 6-quart pot, bring to a boil, and add the drained basmati rice. Gently stir several times to prevent the grains from sticking together.

Step 3

Bring the rice to another boil, and continue boiling for 7 to 10 minutes. Test for readiness by checking one grain. It should be soft around the edges and firm in the center.

Step 4

Drain the rice in a colander, and rinse under cold water, allowing the rice to drain completely.

Step 5

Rinse and dry your pot.

Step 6

Add the oil and ghee or butter over medium heat until very hot, just short of smoking.

Step 7

Arrange the lavash pieces to cover the bottom of the pot.

Step 8

Remove the pot from heat, and using a slotted spoon, gently transfer the cooked rice to your pot, covering the entire surface of the lavash. Then add the remaining rice to form a pyramid.

Step 9

If you are using saffron, sprinkle it over the top of the pyramid.

Step 10

Cover the pot with a kitchen towel or damkesh, then top with the lid. Place the pot back on medium-low heat, and allow it to steam for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until the steam rises and the tahdeeg is crispy and golden brown.


  • Add some sautéed onions, mushrooms, and chickpeas cooked with coriander and cumin in step 8.
  • Add freshly chopped dill and parsley in step 8.
  • For an interesting presentation, tip the pot over a platter, and garnish with circles of sliced almonds and pomegranate seeds.
  • Loobia polow: Loobia polow is made with green beans, beef, tomato paste, and fried onion spiced with saffron and cinnamon.
  • Polow tahchin: The ingredients of this polow are layered on the bottom of a pot. They consist of rice, chicken, orange peels, pistachios, almonds, saffron, cardamom, and cinnamon.