Persian Rice 101: How to Make the Perfect Persian Rice

There is a definite art to making Persian rice & I think it’s the best rice ever.Suzanne

“If Minute Rice is a lifestyle choice, then Persian rice is a religion.” The Washington Post


Making the perfect Persian rice is a tall order. (As illustrated in detail here, here, & here!) BUT, despair not. “LET us go then, you and I,” holding hands, step-by-step, and do what it takes to crack this culinary juggernaut.

(“Oh, do not ask, “What is it?” Let us go and make our visit.”)

You’ll Need These Tools:

  • A slotted spatula (something that looks like this: kafgir)
  • A sturdy colander (with small slots to prevent grains slipping out when drained)
  • A roomy non-stick pot with a lid
  • A clean kitchen towel to wrap up the lid (Why? How?)

… AND These Ingredients:

  • 4 cups (1 cup per/person) of the best quality long-grain rice (Quality Matters!)
  • Saffron – a few pinches
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt (this is for making the tadig)
  • 5+ tablespoons olive oil (or ghee if you’re ambitious and driven)
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter (optional)
  • Use filtered water throughout the process if at all possible

This step is described in exhaustive & illustrative detail here – but in a nutshell:

  • Rake rice: Spread rice grains in a tray; rake with fingers to pick out unwanted bits or grit – if any. Skip this step if you have confidence in the quality of your rice.
  • Wash rice: Transfer rice to a bowl. Fill with cold water. Grab fistfuls of rice and gently scrub between palm of hands; drain, rinse, refill with cold water. Repeat this process until rice runs pristine when rinsed – it usually takes 3-5 times. (Washing rice removes starch and prevents rice grains from getting sticky.)
  • Soak rice: Refill bowl one last time with enough cold water to cover 1″ over the grains. Add 2 tablespoon of salt and soak rice for at least 2 and up to 24 hours. (Salt water adds flavor, plumps up the grains, and reduces stickiness.)

TIP: Soaking rice overnight is a good way to get a head-start and is a common practice.

  1. PREP: Drain rice once it has soaked for the desired length of time and set it aside. Place the colander in the sink and make sure you have your potholders nearby. Optional: place a carafe of lukewarm water by the sink (to rinse rice with in step 7.)
  2. Bring 8 cups of water + 2 tablespoons of salt to a vigorous boil.
  3. Dip bowl of rice into the boiling water, releasing grains into the pot.
  4. Return to a furious boil. Dip in an empty bowl to remove 2 cups of this boiling water – and set it aside. (Don’t trap any rice grains, don’t burn your hands!)
  5. As rice is boiling, stir a few times, gently, with the spatula to loosen any stuck grains; and also use the spatula to skim & discard the foam.
  6. A few minutes into the boiling (3-4 minutes would be good) gradually pour back the 2 cups of water you earlier set aside. (This is my mom’s technique to mellow the boiling temperature as a safeguard against overcooking the rice.)
  7. When rice grains are al-dente drain rice in the colander. (Please read the note just below!)
  8. Promptly follow by rinsing rice with approximately 4 cups of cool/tepid water. (Either use the carafe of water prepped for this purpose, or simply use the pot to pour water over the rice.)
  9. Sample a few rice grains: if too salty, rinse rice with more water to reduce saltiness to taste.
  10. Leave rice to cool its heels in the colander while you attend to the next step.

When is rice al-dente and ready to be drained in the colander? Rice is al-dente when it’s no longer crunchy but still firm – not soft or mushy. It can take anywhere from 6-12 minutes of boiling rice to get this desired al-dente texture. Precise timing varies – depending on: type of rice; geographical altitude & humidity; and a given stove’s heat settings. TIP: A test used by the novice and expert rice-maker alike is to to take a few grains as rice is boiling and either bite into or press grains between fingers to test its texture. If uncertain, best to err on the crunchy side (as it still has a fighting chance to come out alright) than over-boiled grains (pretty much done for as far as that whole fluffy business goes.) But ultimately: No Worries! Practice makes perfect and here’s a huge silver-lining even if you make a mistake: the rice will still be quite delicious!

  1. Combine yogurt and a pinch of ground saffron with 2 spatulas of rice taken from the colander. Gently mix with a fork. (Take care not to smoosh the rice grains.)
  2. Wash and dry the pot you used to boil the rice. Combine 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 1/2 cup of water in the pot and heat till ab va roghan (the oil & water liquid, that is) is sizzling hot.
  3. Once sizzling, remove pot from the stove and set on a counter. Promptly spoon in the yogurt+saffron+rice mixture, and gently and evenly spread it with a spatula. This bottom-of-the-pot-mixture (if all goes well and the almighty force is with you) will become your glorious golden crispy (TA-DA!) … TADIG.

The yogurt and saffron and rice mixture is a good and oft-used base for making a nicely-colored, tasty tadig. It is also common practice to make tadig using either sliced potatoes or lavash bread (a type of flat bread.) Additionally, there are some interesting albeit off-the-beaten-path tadig bases as well. Much more to be said on this topic! The tasty oeuvre and delicate art of tadig-making to be covered with due deference and in loving detail at a later time.

  1. With the tadig-mixture in place, layer the rest of the rice in the pot; either spatula by spatula, or by tilting the colander and gradually pouring the rice into the pot.
  2. Go around the edge of the pot with the spatula and gently push the rice away and up; shaping the rice in the form of a hilltop mound or pyramid. (While doing this, do NOT mix the white rice with the yogurt+saffron+rice mixture on the bottom of the pot that is the base for the tadig. Leave that layer entirely unperturbed.)
  3. Dig several wells in the mound of rice using your spatula’s handle: one in the center, and a few around it.

  1. Wrap the lid with a towel and firmly press down on the pot – leaving no gaps for steam to escape. (Detailed Instruction – Animated Gif.)
  2. Cook on *medium-high* heat for 10-12 minutes until steam rises. (The traditional test to find out if rice has sufficiently steamed is to wet index fingertips and touch the pot: if the contact touch makes a nice “bizzzzzzz” sound that means the rice is indeed steaming.) While this is happening, heat 3-4 tablespoons of oil or butter or ghee.
  3. Once rice has steamed, reduce heat to low and lift the lid. Pour the hot oil (or butter, or ghee) evenly over the rice, then replace the lid firmly back on the pot. (Generally speaking, Iranians favor this practice of adding oil to the rice at this stage as it makes the rice “charbo va narm,” that is: glistening and succulent. My mother, however, routinely omits it which results in a drier but healthier and still quite tasty fare. If you wish to similarly skip this part, no need to remove the lid after rice steams, simply reduce heat once rice steams, and proceed to the next step.)
  4. Cook rice for 90 minutes over low heat. (After 60 minutes rice is done -that is if all you want is polo – but if you want the tadig, and you are no fool so OF COURSE you want the tadig, you need to let rice cook for another 30 or so minutes.)
  5. Once the 90 minutes are up, turn off the heat, but leave the pot on the stove for a few minutes (DO NOT lift the lid, not even a little, not even once. In fact, you are not supposed to lift the lid until step #4 below.)
  6. Meanwhile, rinse a kitchen cloth and spread it out on a counter-top.
  7. Place the pot on this damp dishcloth — the contact touch will hopefully make a nice “fiiiiissssss” sound. That’s a good sign! Leave pot to cool on this damp surface for 5 minutes.

Persian rice is best served immediately – when it is at the peak of its glory. Serving rice has its own set of protocol. Of course it does! Here it goes:

  1. While rice is cooling off, dissolve a pinch or two of saffron in 2-4 tablespoons of hot water in a medium sized bowl.
  2. Remove the lid – finally! Inhale the perfection of your handiwork but don’t get too entranced because there’s still a bit of work left to do. Namely: Add a spatula of rice to the bowl of saffron-water you just made and gently mix. Set this saffron-colored-rice aside for now to use just a bit later as garnish for the rice.
  3. Pile rice up in a serving platter – one spatula at a time, working your way from the top of the mound and not disturbing the tadig – and cajole rice in the shape of a hilltop mound. Now take that saffron-colored-rice-mixture you made earlier and evenly sprinkle it over the rice as a pretty garnish.
  4. Optional: At this point, those wishing for a heightened degree of decadence may douse 2 or more tablespoons of melted butter over the rice. My mom almost always does this — and her eyes sparkle when she explains how this step gives “such a beautiful sheen” to the final dish.
  5. Finally, it’s ta-da tadig time! Use the spatula/kafgir to detach and extradite tadig to its own platter to be served alongside with the fluffy rice. Try not to crush tadig into too many pieces, if possible.

Final thoughts re polo va cholo and the whole Persian rice making business :

I went into excruciating detail so that you know all the ins and outs (what we Persians call “khamoo va cham”) of the intricately-protocoled-method of Persian rice making so as to increase your odds of success. For those of you new to this admittedly technique-driven process, I hope I haven’t overwhelmed you — and would like to reassure you that the learning curve is truly not steep. It’s simply a question of practicing a few times and building expertise and body memory and before you know it, the entire thing becomes second nature to you.

This brings our Persian rice polo making odyssey (my, it was a long journey) to an end of sorts, but not to “The End” — there’s still the matter of kateh (the easy but non-slutty cousin of polo) and an “All About Tadig” post, and a post about how to hack a plain polo into something quite fancy; and finally a post about making rice with electric cookers. But frankly my dears, I’ve had it with writing about rice and need to chillax and take a break from it; and this here is a good place to put up the tent and camp out for a leisurely & thoughtful spell of a “berenj” sabbatical.

Meanwhile, go forth and make polo!

Noosheh Jaan.

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Comments (113)

  • Darya 11 years ago Reply

    Wonderful post! Thank you so much for taking the time to explain all these steps, PLUS it is so much fun to read you!

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    Darya, I hope that this will help you to tackle your fear of Persian rice making. I KNOW you can do it!

  • Gather and Graze 11 years ago Reply

    Azita, what an incredible post! Thanks so much for putting in so much detail – it almost seems achievable if we just take it one step at a time! Do you have a preference for what type of long grain to use – basmati? jasmine? or any of the above as long as the quality is there? You really do deserve a well earned rest! 🙂 Cheers, Margot

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    Hi Margo! Thank you! I aim to please,so glad it did the trick. 🙂
    Basmati long grain is great, but Ross, a dear reader, commented that “Lal Qilla from Pakistan” works great for him and later on my mom confirmed that it indeed a choice quality rice. (Uncle Benz and supermarket rice won’t be worth the effort because it just won’t yield the same results, so for sure wait till you have found good rice before you embark on this perilous journey!)

  • apuginthekitchen 11 years ago Reply

    Now everyone can make delicious Persian rice. Great post!!

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    I hope so and thank you dear Suzanne!

  • mycookinglifebypatty 11 years ago Reply

    I love reading your details and seeing all the pictures too. The tadig sounds so so delicious with this rice! I also appreciate meticulous instructions when they are important. Wish we could meet in one of our kitchens and do some cooking!

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    Patty, tadig is very good, wait till you taste some. My brother in law sometimes jokes that he married into a Persian family just for the tadig, ha ha! And yes, wouldn’t it be nice if we could have a big kitchen for our food blogging community to get together and cook our hearts out? That would be nice! 🙂

  • iflookscouldkale 11 years ago Reply

    Wow, I had no idea how intricate this process was! Certainly makes me appreciate this dish even more than I did before 🙂

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    It IS quite a to-do … but end result is worth the fuss. I promise!

  • Fae's Twist & Tango 11 years ago Reply

    Excellent Azita jan! The detailed steps and illustrations are so helpful. We do live in a time that we can incorporate visuals and it is great! Only foodies can understand the process you had to go through to put these posts together. You can publish a booklet on this and promote on Kindle too! 😀
    Now, I want polo! 😛

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    Thank you Fae joon! Yup, you get it that this post was not made in one day. Ha ha. I do LIKE your idea of making a booklet. I don’t want polo! I can honestly say that I’m off of polo in writing and real life for awhile after this rice marathon! 😉

  • Lizzy (Good Things) 11 years ago Reply

    Wow Azita, you are such a great teacher! I love the step by step instructions. Thanks so much for sharing your treasured recipes.

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    That’s a great compliment and one that makes me very happy. Thank you Lizzy!

  • Ross 11 years ago Reply

    “Smoosh”? Now you’ll have to add a glossary. A word worthy of Lewis Carroll.

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    Hi Ross!!! Wait, so smoosh is not a word yet? It’s so descriptive I’m sure it must be in usage already.

    Ross 11 years ago

    Crush + make smooth? The great thing about the neologism is that it is understandable.”Your pot has many ladles” or something like that, I’m sure there’s an expression in Farsi or Arabic or Dari like that.

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago

    Ross, you had me running to Webster to find out what neologism means. It’s a big word for me, ha ha! Appropriately enough, it’s a new word to me. I like it! But guess what, I Googled it and smoosh IS a word in the common parlance here in the U.S. so while I’d be happy to take credit for its invention, I’m afraid I can’t.

  • johnnysenough hepburn 11 years ago Reply

    Wow, can you send some over?? So want to try this without wrecking my kitchen, as I’m wont to do. Well, it’s partly as my kitchen seems as if it came directly from a small, unwanted caravan. Will have to get my head around this at some stage and try it 🙂 Sounds truly amazing!

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    ooh I was worried all the detail was going to make it seem much more daunting than it is. You can do it Johnny: wash rice, boil rice, steam rice. C’est tout. (plus 1001 details granted.) I would love to send some over in any case. Bartering for any number of your tempting fare.

  • narf77 11 years ago Reply

    All of those steps make it look like it takes longer to cook perfect Persian Rice than it does to build an Apartment block! I might have to have a lie down before I try this one! 😉

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    How did you know apartment blocks in Iran were built with rice? ha ha, kidding. I know where you are coming from and hear you loud and clear but see the comment above: the details make it appear to be a much more arduous task than it is.

    narf77 11 years ago

    I love building apartment buildings ;). This rice is worth the odd apartment building to be honest 🙂

  • chef mimi 11 years ago Reply

    I wish I could smell what you’re smelling, and taste what you’re tasting!

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    I wish I could share! Somebody amongst us should initiate a little weekend blogger get-together cookout.

    chef mimi 11 years ago

    Wouldn’t that be great?!!

  • radhika25 11 years ago Reply

    That looks delicious! I can almost smell it!!! Is it also served with a yoghurt based ‘raita’?
    There is always basmati in an Indian home :), so I’m trying the Persian polo this weekend. What can I team this with? (vegetarian?)

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    I had to look up raita to give you a semi-intelligent response and my verdict is that yes, the rice could be quite nice with a yogurt based raita.
    If you want a quickie but delicious veggie pairing, try this: cook lentils seasoned with cinnamon, and sautee some dates and raisin and perhaps walnuts if you want as well; and then when serving rice layer serving plat with two spatulas of rice and then a layer of lentils & the dates+raisin+walnut mixture and repeat; reserving some of the dates/raisins to garnish on top, douse the entire thing with a dollop or two of ghee or butter and eat either as is or with some yogurt. It will be spectacularly delicious. We call this “addas polo” or “lentil rice” and while it’s generally served with some type of animal protein, the veggie version of it is also quite prevalent and popular. If you make it – in advance: Nooshe jaan!!!

    radhika25 11 years ago

    Sorry, Azita…I just assume that most people know these terms, as Indian food is popular. Plus North Indian food (Mughlai cuisine) has so many links to Persian cuisine. I thought your polo would also be served with yoghurt.
    When you say lentils, which one do you mean? Is it moong/mung? We cook with 6-8 different lentils or dals. Both the dish as well as the lentil is called dal. For example, toor dal, channa dal, masur dal, urud dal, moong dal…..Since a lot of Indians are vegetarian, we have a lot of proteins in this form. Hope this isn’t becoming another lecture on food groups 🙂

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago

    No complaints, Radhika, hope it didn’t come across like that, as I am intrigued by and enjoy learning about Indian cuisine which is new to me. I mean I’ve had the tourist versions of Indian food in NY’s Little India but have not yet explored the cuisine in depth and I’m interested in learning more and more. Just the other day was telling my mom about the shrikhand after reading about it on your blog(it was new to her as well.)
    Re lentils! It cracks me up somewhat because as opposed to you guys we just say “addas” and that’s it. The one type of addas used most often in rice cooking is small, round and brown. Ha ha, that sounds funny actually. Here, I Googled an image that should hopefully help out:
    the type of lentil that looks like this but honestly I think almost any type of lenil would do in a pinch. Ok whoa, this comment is as long a post so I’ll leave it at this for now. 🙂

    radhika25 11 years ago

    Hi Azita,
    I wrote you a long reply, this morning, but my wifi was down, and it disappeared 🙁
    Now, I can’t remember what I wanted to say 🙂

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago

    Oh no! I feel your pain: I was making an animated fireworks GIF for the 4th of July then Photoshop “quit unexpectedly” and there went my hour of work.
    If you remember what you wanted to say, you know where to find me, and I have big ears! 😉

    radhika25 11 years ago

    That’s sad! Your animations are so beautiful….didn’t realize that it took hours of work.

  • tinywhitecottage 11 years ago Reply

    You gave a perfect tutorial. Your explanation turned what seems to be a very intense task into what seems an achievable mission! I really want to try this. Thank you. 🙂

  • rabirius 11 years ago Reply

    Good tip – I’ll try that the next time I cook come rice.

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    Excellent! Glad to hear it.

  • ladyredspecs 11 years ago Reply

    Loved part 3 of the rice journey, one to save up until I’m in the home kitchen, mainly because I need to conserve water while on the road. We take so much for granted including the food we eat each day. Every home has different traditions, even something as simple as cooking rice is interesting and well worth sharing, thanks

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    I know isn’t it amazing that various cultures and traditions or even homes as you say put a different spin on the same basic ingredient? Cooking is really an amazing human endeavor.
    Good luck and many beautiful adventures ahead with the rest of your odyssey!

  • Diana 11 years ago Reply

    Thank you for this post!
    My boyfriend’s grandmother makes the most delicious taadig–my boyfriend and his mom fight over the last piece every single time. So I’ve tried to make it but the bottom keeps coming out soft / bendable rather than crispy although the rice is still fluffy and good. It is true that I don’t steam it for the full 90-minutes as instructed but I keep worrying the rice will overcook. So I only steam it for about 30-45-minutes. I assume the crispy part was achieved in the initial stage of cooking the taadig layer on high heat so the rest wasn’t a big deal. But I guess the high heat only browns the taadig layer and then the long steaming is what makes it crispy? For some reason I want to understand the science behind making taadig. I love all Iranian food but taadig is my favourite–along with bastaniyeh akbar mashti.
    Anyway, I would really appreciate your advice. I’m thinking it’s the steaming that I do wrong?

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    Dear Diana,
    I’ll take this to email so that I can write a proper response without worrying about writing a mini-novella!

  • laurasmess 11 years ago Reply

    Fantastic post Azita! I’ve made cheat’s Persian rice before but it’s so good to know the proper way to do it. I’m going to try your instructions this weekend! Thanks so much xx

  • rabbitcancook 11 years ago Reply

    Thank you for sharing this interesting and delicious dish, a quick question from naughty student, do you think I can cheat in step 4 & 5 by using rice cooker? 😀

  • Vahram Shahgaldian 11 years ago Reply

    I really enjoyed reading your instructions on making Persian rice. Although you do mentione it in your beautifully detailed and photographed recepie, I would like to emphasize the absolute importance of the “roomy pot”. It took me a long time to finally master making the rice.
    When the rice is mounded in the pot there should not only be enough room around the pyramid mound but at least a couple of inches between the top of the mound and the cloth covered lid to allow for proper steam circulation.
    We always made bread/lavsh tahdig and i personally prefer it to the rice/yougurt mixture. Flour tortillas also make a light and crispy tahdig and they are already round and fit perfectly in the bottom of tge pot. Omit the yougurt and just make sure to get ones that are the same size as your pot. If you cant find an exact match, use one full tortilla, place it on one side and fill around it with pieces of tortilla cut to cover any bare spots. Remove the tahdig as instructed above and cut like a pie or pizza into triangles. You can either use kitchen sheers or a pizza cuter.

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    Hi Vahram, I welcome your suggestion of the importance of a roomy pot. You are absolutely correct. I will edit the post accordingly to include this important fact.
    I’m planning on a tahdig post at a later time (needed a rice break!) and will keep your flour tortilla suggestion in mind. I have to say though that personally I’m a bigger fan of the basic rice/yogurt tahdig than the other varieties. That said, it’s been ages since I’ve tasted a lavash bread tahdig – so maybe I’ll change my mind. In any event, you’ve inspired me to make my next batch of rice with a flour tortilla tahdig.
    By the way, your gourmet meal plan sounds divine!
    Thank you for reading and commenting.

  • […] Plain Persian rice or polo is almost always paired with a type of khoresh, thus forming a formidable entity known as polo-khoresh. Just think of the pair as the Brangelina A-list power couple of Persian cuisine. […]

  • Tina 11 years ago Reply

    I have a Persian boyfriend (of 10 years), and he has a couple of Persian dishes he cooks and has taught me. But I have never cooked Persian for his family (3 sisters and mother). Thanks for the very detailed in’s and out’s that will be helpful if I ever get the courage. Meanwhile, I can impress him with your tips (yogurt tadig). Thanks!

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    Tina, I’m delighted to help you impress your beau’s family! Make the rice once just for yourself so the pressure of performance is not on – and you’ll see it’s really not that difficult. Practice does for sure make perfect however.
    Meanwhile, suggest to your boyfriend that I’m open to the idea of guest posts and if he wants to share one of his specialty dishes it’d be quite wonderful! : )

  • Tina 11 years ago Reply

    Also, thank you for the link to Sunshine in a Bottle for the Ghee directions!

  • […] Persian cooking and various other very interesting bits. Check out their post on how to cook the perfect Persian rice and pomegranate […]

  • Brisa 11 years ago Reply

    I have a question regarding Tahdig. I make a good bread tahdig (with pita actually) but can’t get the rice tahdig down. I once tried adding yogurt, but it came out looking dark like tahchin, not the light golden color I’ve seen around. So I tried it without yogurt, and I got either a gloopy mess or a burned stuck on grit I had to throw away. Any tips?

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    Hi Brisa, First of all congrats on mastering the art of bread tahdig! Not a mean feat at all!
    The best tip is that initially you should allow the rice to cook on medium high heat for 10-15 minutes until it steams. Once it steams (the pot sizzles to the touch if you touch it with moist finger) then add the oil and water and continue to cook on LOW heat for at least an additional 45 minutes or longer.
    The tricky thing about tahdig is that factors such as the thickness of your pot and how easily it transfers heat; the humidity of local; and even the oven settings can affect the length of time the rice has to cook. IF you’re getting burnt or dark tahdig then the culprit may be that it’s cooking too long on high heat before you lower the heat.
    This is going to sound like very frustrating suggestion but the best tip is: watch the rice during those first 10-15 minutes. As soon as you detect steam, you should immediately go to step 2 (adding oil and water and then lowering the heat and cooking for additional minimum of 45 minutes.)
    My mother who has made rice for a few decades now still manages to burn her tahdig once in awhile which is just a testament that taghdig is in essence a capricious thing! So just allow yourself a few trial and error test runs till you figure out the prime timing.
    Hope this helps!

  • The Novice Gardener 11 years ago Reply

    I love Persian rice! Is it polo or chelo? Every time I go to DC, I have to stop by Shamsiry, in Tysons Corner, VA, just outside DC. I thought they make the best rice in the world! (I mentioned this in my turnip post.) You know, you can eat it as it, with nothing on it. OMG, now I want some!
    Thank you for posting this, Azita. Can’t be driving 2 hrs to Shamsiry each time I crave polo.

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    To be technically correct, white rice is chelo (sometime pronounced cholo) and mixed rice is polo. You know what, I grew up in the DC area and I think I’ve been to Shamshiry at least once or twice. I’ve heard via Twitter friends who still live in the DC metro area that there are now quite a few good places for cholo kabab etc …
    I now need to go and find your turnip post. I am very fond of turnips (now used to hate them as a kid.)

  • Ross 11 years ago Reply

    I used lavash for the tahdig for the first time yesterday. It comes in large round sheets from small Iraqi (?) baker down town.
    I found it not as crisp as yoghurt mix, but it browned nicely and was more of an (acceptably) chewy result. It could have been my timing estimate, midway on the scale of the Pars Kazar electric cooker, though. Some day I’ll invent a polo cooker with a glass bottom.
    I discovered Lal Qilla Basmati rice, “Prestige–2 years aged” in an Indian supplier and it worked beautifully.

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    Dear Ross, a polo-cooker w/glass bottom sounds genius! Please do invent it!
    Really enjoyed reading your update about Persian rice making. Thank you for sharing.
    It’s true that with lavash, the tadigh comes out thinner and less crispy. It should still be somewhat crispy though, in fact, just tonight enjoyed a wonderful batch of such tadig.
    ps loved that email w/the link. plan to read article and reply later when less crazed. thanks for sharing that as well

  • […] the directions to make the perfect Persian rice as detailed here.  [Introduction to Persian rice and tadig and pictorial how-to tutorials also at […]

  • celestedimilla 11 years ago Reply

    That’s a lot of work!! I’m sure it’s worth it, but I’m going back and forth in my mind if I’m willing to go through all that work. Hmmmmm – I’m gonna bookmark the recipe and we’ll see… 🙂

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    Agreed that it’s a good bit of work Celeste, but it’s worth it I must say. There’s a shortcut version we call “kateh” which hopefully I’ll get around posting soon.

  • I love tah dig. What a GREAT tutorial. Thank you! Warmly – Shanna

  • Bnai 11 years ago Reply

    Awesome! Part of my family-by-marriage is Persian and has been for 40 years now. Yet I STILL can’t get my rice to come out the way theirs does! They say it’s so simple but I’m a decent cook and just can’t get it! I’ll definitely test out your recipe asap–Thank you!!! 🙂

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    What a lovely comment & thank you for sharing your story! I do hear you re the rice, its mastery can prove elusive! I do hope the recipe works out for you.

  • […] Persian Rice 101: A Step-by-Step Guide to making the Perfect Persian Rice […]

  • […] For a delightful and detailed layman’s guide to making Iranian/Persian rice the right way, check out this post. […]

  • […] For a delightful and detailed layman’s guide to making Iranian/Persian rice the right way, check out this post. […]

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  • […] you want to master the cooking Persian Rice, you have this post (How to Make the Perfect Persian Rice) describing every step in great […]

  • Eat with Me Istanbul 10 years ago Reply

    Thank you for the step-by-step instructions. I should try the real Persian rice one day, instead of my lazy version. Tadig…very interesting. Check out my fake Persian rice. I made a link to this post. I hope I discovered your post before I cooked mine. Anyway, your blog is very enjoyable to read. 🙂

    Fig & Quince 10 years ago Reply

    Hi! Thank you for your sweet comment. You really must explore the glory that is tadig! 😉 You won’t regret the effort.

  • cara 10 years ago Reply

    I found your link on pintrest and am so excited. I lived in Iran twice as child/teenager and never learned to make the rice. I’ve tried every way possible and it never compares… Can’t wait to try this! No if I just had some lamb strips to go over it.
    We’ll be having rice this weekend. Thanks so much

    Fig & Quince 10 years ago Reply

    Dear Cara,
    Forgive the belated response. I’m so interested to read that you lived in Iran a few times. Would LOVE to know more. Do you have any photos/memories you’d like to share? In any event, how did it go with making the rice? Hope it somehow and somewhat resembled the rice of your childhood.
    If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask, and do keep in touch!

  • Jimi 10 years ago Reply

    Great post, wish I had spotted it before. Love the passion and can’t wait to cook it!
    Quick question with re Step 5 # 3 should we just replace the lid or the towel also? If with the towel do we keep the towel till we lift the lid again?

    Fig & Quince 10 years ago Reply

    Hi Jimi,
    Sorry for the delayed response and I’m totally psyched that you are excited about embarking on a Persian rice making odyssey! Buckle up your seats! ha ha just kidding. As for your question: yes, you would keep the towel until the rice is done. You are done with the towel when you finally lift the lid (and get ready to serve) in step 6 #2.
    Hope this helps. Good luck with making polo and do keep me posted and maybe send me a pic, OK?

  • Azita joon! I did it! Persian rice with tadig, fesenjan and mast chekide! Such a glorious sunday lunch all thanks to your amazing rice recipe!

    Fig & Quince 10 years ago Reply

    That’s wonderful Shatarupa joon! Thanks for letting me know! 🙂

  • Fig & Quince 10 years ago Reply

    Hi dear commenters,
    This post has been infected with some SPAM comments but I don’t want to close comments.
    If you clicked the “Notify new comments” but no longer wish to get those notification emails, I can not unsubscribe you, but you can do so on your end: Look for a “manage subscriptions” link in the footer of each email that you receive, and that will take you where you can “unsubscribe” from that thread.
    This is according to WordPress’ Support reply to my request for removing readers’ email notification subscriptions.
    I’m now turning comments back on for this post. Thank you for visiting and commenting!

  • […] and puffed up to its personal best (an elaborate process attested to and detailed in the ‘How to make the perfect Persian rice” post) and yet, when making sholeh zard, the object of the game is to practically cook the […]

  • Angie 10 years ago Reply

    It was my first time making Persian Rice and your recipe was perfect. I’m from Vancouver and we have a huge Persian culture here and been dying to learn for so long. Thank you for sharing such great detailed instructions! Now I’ll invite my Iranian friends and impress them 😉

    Fig & Quince 10 years ago Reply

    Hi Angie! It makes me very happy to hear about your success with making Persian rice and boy oh boy will your Iranian friends be impressed! Noosh ‘e jan in advance and thank you so much for letting me know! Comments like yours make my day. xx Azita

  • […] Bite a couple of grains and when the grain feels soft to the bite it is ready to be drained. (For detailed instructions for preparing Persian rice, please see […]

  • […] this link for my favorite white rice recipe, perfect for after a workout and as a low glycemic filler and side dish. If you don’t like […]

  • […] ago. After dodging repeated attempts to force-feed me salmon and filling up on plenty of delicious tadig, they brought out traditional Turkish coffee. Turkish coffee is so strong and so thick, it leaves a […]

  • […] Yum!  (If you need an intro for making Persian steamed rice, check out the detailed posts in the Persian Rice 101: How to Make the Perfect Persian Rice pictorial guide […]

  • farah 9 years ago Reply

    I make this rice and you have given the method in great details.

  • […] comment is a comforting one that should give you solace! Namely, while making rice in the Persian style takes finesse and technique and rather precise timing and can be a fussy temperamental wench, […]

  • […] types of specially-mixed-combinations of spiced (advieh) for everything from making torshi to polo to soups to BBQ chicken. There’s something inherently mesmerizing about gazing at piles of […]

  • isphafan 9 years ago Reply

    How about making this with a stainless steel pot?

    Fig & Quince 9 years ago Reply

    You can — but you have to be much more cautious re the timing so that you end up with good tahdig that doesn’t get stuck to the bottom of the pot. So short answer: yes, but be vigilant! Good luck!

  • Hani 9 years ago Reply

    Try Gulbanoo Long Grain Sella Rice. This is by far the best rice suited for Persian Rice. It is very fluffy and non sticky. Although it is white rice, it has up to 75% of the goodness and nutrition of Brown rice which means you get great looking rice, gorgeous taste and aroma as well as eating health food.

    Fig & Quince 9 years ago Reply

    Thank you! I’ll look for it!

  • safinaz 9 years ago Reply

    Excellent site! Made 3 attempts at this rice – part 1 I boiled until al dente and then put in the pot and steamed for 45 min – the reason why I didn’t cook longer is because first time it came out very dry – the texture is nice and fluffy (not dry) but its very dry and seems like its lacking moisture. So I steam for 45 min ( I skip the initial cook on high for 10 min). Any tips would be appreciated!

  • […] you would like to make it the traditional/real way, please feel free to follow these excellent, highly detailed Persian rice making instructions by […]

  • Nicole 8 years ago Reply

    I need to make sholeh zard for a progressive dinner. I have been searching hi and low for what kind of rice to use. You say here that Persians with no access to their native rice turn to basmati for Persian rice. Is this also true for sholeh zard? Is it possible to use jasmine rice?

    Fig & Quince 8 years ago Reply

    Hi Nicole, sorry for belated reply. I’d suggest you use the best quality rice you have available to you, & it’s definitely ok to use Jasmine rice. Good luck and noosh e joon!!!

  • Alena 8 years ago Reply

    Thank you so much for the photos that go along with the recipe. I did try to make this a couple of times but the recipe and steps were different. I am going to bookmark this page and try again with your steps! 🙂

    Fig & Quince 8 years ago Reply

    So glad to be of help. It takes awhile to master making rice in the Persian style but once you do, it’s really quite easy. Good luck!

  • Cari 8 years ago Reply

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is so incredibly thorough. I messed up my first batch and after reading your post, I see where the mistakes were. This is by far the best teaching on making this wonderful rice and the pictures were very helpful. Thanks for taking such care in posting and paying tribute to the Persian cuisine and culture!

    Fig & Quince 8 years ago Reply

    Awwww! Thank you, thank you, thank you dear Cari for a comment that makes making these kinds of posts so very much worth the effort. I’m delighted you are into Persian cuisine and Nooshe ‘e jooon! 🙂

  • Alou 8 years ago Reply

    Wow! So thorough and intense, I have been searching on how to make Persian Rice and I think this is the one! Will definitely try this! Thanks for the tutorial.

    Fig & Quince 6 years ago Reply

    Sorry for belated! Hi and did you try making the rice? Hope it worked out!

  • […] delicious and classic Persian rhubarb stew, aka “Khoresh Rivas” which served along with fluffy steamed rice and some crunchy tadig, offers the palette a decadent symphony of flavor and texture and pleasure. […]

  • Sameena 7 years ago Reply

    I tried it and your very detailed steps help me perfect it in the fast try….jus awesome..thanks

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  • Linda Diaz 6 years ago Reply

    Thank you for re-introducing me to the perfect Iranian rice. I lived and worked in Kermanshah in the late 70’s. I had an Armenian neighbor who taught me how to make this wonderful rice. Since returning to the states I have only made it a few times. I am definitely going to try making it again and reminisce about my wonderful time in Iran.

  • Fig & Quince 6 years ago Reply

    Hi Linda, thank you for sharing your story. My father’s side of the family hails from Kermanshah actually! Hope the directions help and you end up with a perfect pot of steamed Persian rice and of course a nice bed of tadig!

  • Dyan 6 years ago Reply

    Thanks for going into so much detail and providing pictures!
    (1) How much volume of cooked rice does this result in?
    (2) If I want to make a smaller batch, perhaps 2 or 3 cups of uncooked rice instead of 4, should I make adjustments to the time the rice cooks at the end (i.e. less than 90 minutes?)
    (3) You mention that if you stop the rice after 60 minutes, you’ll have polo (no tadig). If I want to make a plain saffron polo for the first attempt (for the interest of time too), should I simply follow the same instructions with that one adjustment? How will the yogurt-saffron mixture turn out? Should that piece still be included?…just a different texture & taste but still good?
    Thank you! I’m very excited to take a stab at this!

  • […] Note: For a delightful and detailed layman’s guide to properly preparing Iranian/Persian rice at home, check out this article and recipe. […]

  • […] Note: For a delightful and detailed layman’s guide to properly preparing Iranian/Persian rice at home, check out this article and recipe. […]

  • […] Note:For a delightful and detailed layman’s guide to properly preparing Iranian/Persian rice at home, check outthis article and recipe. […]

  • […] Note: For a delightful and detailed layman’s guide to properly preparing Iranian/Persian rice at home, check out this article and recipe. […]

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