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Shared by Nicole Enayati

Polo ba Tahdig (Persian Rice with a Crispy Crust)

Yield: 8-10 servingsTime: 1 H

Shared by Nicole Enayati

Polo ba tahdig on a blue floral dish.
Photographer: Armando Rafael. Food Stylist: Judy Haubert. Prop Stylist: Vanessa Vazquez.

Polo ba Tahdig (Persian Rice with a Crispy Crust)

Yield: 8-10 servingsTime: 1 H

Family Journey

Los Angeles

Rice is crucial to any Persian meal and tahdig, its crispy crust, is the most prized part. Making tahdig is all about technique and it can take some practice to master. To start: Be sure to rinse your rice well, so the grains don’t stick to one another. Next, parboil them and then start layering the rice in the pan carefully, cooking it over medium heat first to create that crunchy texture of the tahdig and then continuing to cook it over the lowest possible heat so the rice steams evenly. When it comes to flipping the rice onto a platter, it’s best to be sure of your setup and then flip with confidence. 

This recipe comes from Nicole Hendizadeh. Read more about her family in “When an Expert Guest Finally Hosts Her First Persian Shabbat Dinner and try her recipes for khoresh gheymeh (Persian split pea stew) and homemade verjus


  • 3 cups long grain, basmati rice 
  • 10 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons salt 
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron, crushed and bloomed in 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 4 tablespoons grapeseed oil
SidesShabbatVeganVegetarianGluten FreeMiddle East


  • Step 1

    Place your rice into a large bowl and cover with water. Allow to soak for 30 minutes, then drain and rinse until the water runs clear.

  • Step 2

    In a large pot, bring 10 cups of salted water to a boil. Add the rice and boil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The rice should be al dente, with a bit of white in the center of the grain. Drain and rinse with cold water, folding the rice gently.

  • Step 3

    Place the rice into a large bowl and carefully fold in the bloomed saffron water and salt.

  • Step 4

    In a deep 10-11 inch non-stick saucepan, add the grapeseed oil and heat over medium heat.

  • Step 5

    With a large spoon, gently set down the rice on the bottom of the pan, about an inch. Do not press down hard, but flatten it. Layer the rest of the rice over by scattering it over the top of the layer of rice.

  • Step 6

    Let the rice cook over medium heat and begin to crisp for 5-7 minutes.

  • Step 7

    Reduce the heat to the lowest setting possible and scatter 3 tablespoons of water over the rice. With the back of a wooden spoon, poke 5 holes all the way down to the pan to allow the rice to evenly steam.

  • Step 8

    Cover the pot with a tight lid. Flip the lid of your pot upside down and cover it with a clean dish towel. Flip it back over and pull the corners of the towel together over the top of the lid. Tie the ends together to prevent them from burning. Allow the rice to steam for 40-50 minutes over very low heat, until you begin to see the edges of the tahdig browning. Remove from heat and let the tahdig set, covered for at least 10 minutes before carefully flipping the pot onto a serving tray.