Tah-chin – Persian Savoury Rice cake
Tah-chin is an Iranian rice dish that can be baked in the oven or cooked on the stove. The description of being a savoury cake always puts me off but please persevere. This is one of my favorite recipes and is a great comfort food.
Tah-chin can be made with chicken, vegetables or lamb. This is the lamb version cooked in the oven. Usually the rice and meat are layered but I actually prefer to mix both together.
Serves 6-8 people
1 kilo of stewing lamb
1 tin of chickpeas
2 teaspoons of cumin
1 teaspoon of tumeric
1 teaspoon of saffron
500 gr of rice (basmati is good but I tend to use whatever I have available)
25 gr of butter
Pinch of cinnamon
salt and pepper
First of all, cover the lamb in a third of the yoghurt. Mix in well and marinate for a least two hours. The yoghurt will help to tenderize the meat.
Preheat your oven to 190/gas 5
Once marinated add the lamb and spices to a heavy frying pan. Don’t add the saffron. Brown in a little oil and then cover with stock. Place a lid on the pan and slowly simmer for an hour. You may need to add a splash more water during simmering. After an hour you should have tender meat and a thick gravy from the juices. Place everything in a large bowl.
In a separate pan boil the water for the rice. Once boiled add the rive and cook for around 7 minutes. You want the rice to be partially cooked. Not crunchy but with a bit of bite remaining. Rinse in a colander and set aside.
In the same pan that you cooked the lamb fry the chopped onions until golden brown. Add the lamb, juices and the chick peas and cook for a further 5 minutes.
In a bowl mix together the remaining yoghurt and the whisked egg. Add the saffron the a third of the rice and mix well. Melt the butter and pour into a large glass dish. Add the yoghurt rice. Mix the rest of the rice into the lamb and chickpeas and place on top of the yoghurt rice.
Cover and bake in the oven for 90 minutes. Once cooked you will need to run a knife around the edges before inverting onto a plate.
Serve with a mixed salad