Kate Itrich-Williams
Kate Itrich-Williams
December 7, 2021
Using the Anova Precision Oven to make the crisp, crackly topped Persian rice dish known as tahdig may not be traditional, but it certainly is easier. You’ll use the oven to steam basmati rice before layering the cooked rice with saffron-infused yogurt and a generous amount of fat in a cast iron skillet. A lid wrapped in a towel will help absorb any remaining moisture from the rice as it gently bakes and crisps in precise, 425°F (218°C), dry heat. Notes: Make sure to assemble the rice in the skillet over medium heat on the stovetop. I tested heating the pan in the oven pre-assembly, but it didn’t provide enough of a jumpstart to the crisping process. And before the pan goes in the oven, cover the toweled lid with aluminum foil. If you skip this step, you will likely burn the towel. (I speak from experience.) Finally, the saffron in this recipe helps to give the dish a bit of aromatic flavor as well as yellow color; if you don’t want to splurge on it, feel free to skip it as it isn’t critical to the success of the recipe.
Prep Time
Cook Time
5 (1)
2 cups
basmati rice
1 tsp
kosher salt
3 cups
water, plus 2 Tbsp for the saffron (if using)
½ tsp
saffron (optional)
¼ cup
plain yogurt, preferably whole milk
3 Tbsp
unsalted butter
3 Tbsp
extra-virgin olive oil

1. Preheat the Oven

Sous Vide Mode: On
Steam: 100%
Temp: 212°F
Heat: Rear

2. Rinse the Rice

While the oven is heating, place the rice in a fine mesh strainer. Run under cold water, gently agitating the rice with your hands, until the water mostly runs clear out of the bottom of the strainer. Drain well and transfer to a rimmed sheet pan, spreading the rice in an even layer. Sprinkle it with the salt.
Rinse the Rice

3. Cook the Rice

Pour the 3 cups of water over the rice, trying to keep it in as even a layer as possible. Very carefully transfer to the oven and bake until the rice is fluffy and tender, 30 minutes. When the rice is finished, remove it from the oven and, using your hands, break it up into small-ish clumps and individual grains.
Cook the Rice
Sous Vide Mode: On
Steam: 100%
Temp: 212°F
Heat: Rear
00:30 Timer

4. Prepare the Saffron-Yogurt Mixture

While the rice is cooking, place the saffron (if using) in a mortar and pestle and grind into a rough powder. (Alternatively, use your hands to crumble the saffron into a medium bowl.) Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of water and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl (if you haven’t already done so) and stir in the yogurt.
Prepare the Saffron-Yogurt Mixture

5. Adjust the Oven for the Second Stage

Sous Vide Mode: Off
Steam: Off
Temp: 425°F
Heat: Top, Bottom

6. Melt Butter and Heat the Pan

Combine the butter and oil in a 10-inch well-seasoned cast iron or oven-safe nonstick skillet with a lid. Place over medium heat and let the butter melt. While the butter melts, transfer 2 cups of the cooked rice to the bowl with the saffron-yogurt mixture. Gently stir to evenly incorporate the rice and yogurt.
Melt Butter and Heat the Pan

7. Assemble the Crispy Topping

Add 1 tablespoon of the melted butter-oil mixture to the bowl with the rice and yogurt. Stir gently to incorporate. With the skillet still on medium heat, spread the yogurty rice into an even layer on the bottom of the skillet. Press down gently to begin to form the crust.
Assemble the Crispy Topping

8. Add the Remaining Rice

Still over the heat, pile the remaining plain rice over the top of the yogurt rice in an even layer. Use a chopstick to poke several holes in the rice to help release steam. At this point, you should hear a very consistent sizzle coming from the skillet.
Add the Remaining Rice

9. Lid Up

Place a towel on the underside of the pan lid, then tuck the ends under the lid handle to hold it in place. Place the lid over the skillet.
Lid Up

10. Foil Up

Cover the lid with a piece of aluminum foil. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer to the oven.
Foil Up

11. Bake Until Crisp

Bake the rice until the bottom has turned crisp and golden brown, 45 minutes.
Sous Vide Mode: Off
Steam: Off
Temp: 425°F
Heat: Bottom, Top
00:45 Timer

12. Flip and Serve

Very carefully remove the skillet from the oven. Remove the foil and the lid. (Don’t worry if a bit of the rice sticks to the towel.) Place a large, flat plate or platter over the skillet and very carefully flip the skillet over to pop out the rice. Hopefully it will come off in one piece. If not, use a spatula to remove the crisp bottom and place it on top of the rice. Serve immediately.
Flip and Serve
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