Crispy Persian Rice with Spiced Golden Chickpeas

This Crispy Persian Rice (Tahdig) with Spiced Golden Chickpeas is the perfect pantry staple recipe. Basmati rice is pan-cooked until a crispy crust has formed on the bottom. Once turned out onto a plate, the top layer has crunchy rice, but underneath is perfectly cooked, deliciously soft and fluffy rice. Top this Persian rice with spiced, extra crispy golden chickpeas, and a dollop of creamy yogurt. Comfort food that uses all pantry staples yet is still healthy(ish), simple, and delicious!
Here is how you make crispy persian pice (tahdig).
  1. This starts out just like cooking pasta, you’ll boil the rice with plenty of salt until just al dente. This only takes six or so minutes.
  2. Now, drain the rice and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. The rice will finish cooking in the skillet.
  3. The next step is key, remove a portion of the rice and mix with a bit of plain yogurt. This isn’t the traditional method of cooking a true Tahdig, but it will help to ensure that you get a crispy top layer of rice. If you’re vegan, you can use an equal amount of coconut cream or coconut yogurt.
  4. OK. Now, grab a seasoned cast iron skillet or non-stick skillet. Melt a little butter with a little oil. Add that yogurt coated rice in an even layer, then pile on the remaining rice. Cook this over medium heat until a nice crust begins to form. The key to getting an evenly browned crust is to rotate the skillet a quarter turn about every 5 minutes. It’s a little tedious, but it does help to get an evenly browned crust instead of a crust that’s browned on one side and burnt on the other.
  5. Once the rice has cooked fifteen minutes, turn the heat to low and let it cook another fifteen minutes or so, until the rice is cooked through and you see that a nice golden crust has formed on the edges.
  6. Flip the rice out and done. You should have a deep golden crust with fluffy, perfectly buttery, and perfectly salted rice underneath. It’s PRETTY…and it’s SO GOOD.

Make the chickpeas. Trust me, you do need the chickpeas. They add not only heartiness, but they also add plenty of good flavor. They’re salty, savory, and just a little hard to stop eating. Kind of like a healthier chip with the addition of crispy shallots and toasty sesame seeds.
I stirred in the fresh spinach that I had on hand, but you guys can use whatever greens or vegetables that you have. Kale, chard, or even chopped broccoli would all be great.
  • 2 cups basmati rice (but please use what you have on hand during this time!)
  • kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint or cilantro
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 (16 ounce) can chickpeas drained and patted dry
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or smashed
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons raw sesame seeds
  • 2 cups roughly torn greens, such as kale, chard, or spinach
  1. Bring 6 cups of water and about 1/4 cup salt to a boil in a large pot. It seems like a lot of salt, it's not, trust me.
  2. Rinse the rise under water. Once the water is boiling, add the rice, and stir. Cook, stirring occasionally until al dente, about 6 to 8 minutes. Drain into a sieve and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.
  3. In a bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of the rice with the yogurt.
  4. Melt together the butter and oil in a 10-inch skillet set over medium heat. When the butter melts, add the yogurt coated rice and level it out with the back of your spoon. Pile the remaining rice into the pan, mounding it toward the center. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, gently dig 5-6 holes into the rice down to the bottom of the skillet. There should be enough oil in the pan so that you can see it bubbling up the sides. Add oil if needed.
  5. Cook the rice over medium heat, turning the pan a quarter turn every 5 minutes to ensure even browning. Cook until you start to see a golden crust begin to form at the sides of the pan, about 15 minutes. Then reduce the heat to low and continue cooking another 15 to 20 minutes. The edges of the crust should be golden, 35-40 minutes total.
  6. Meanwhile, make the chickpeas. Heat a large, high sided skillet over medium heat. Add the oil, chickpeas, garlic, shallots, turmeric, paprika, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until the chickpeas are crisped all over, about 8-10 minutes. Add the sesame seeds and greens, tossing to combine. Cook 2 minutes, until toasted, remove from the heat.
  7. Run a spatula along the edges of the pan to release the rice. Carefully flip the rice onto a platter. Serve topped with chickpeas, fresh cilantro, or mint.

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