Tahdeeg or Tahdig (Persian Rice)
Chef Demetrios Haralambatos
Persians make several variations of tahdeeg, but the simplest and the most common way is to place a thin flatbread known as lavash on the bottom of the pot with butter and splashes of brewed saffron. A flour tortilla or a split pita can serve as a replacement for lavash. Very thinly sliced potatoes will also get you the crunchy texture you desire.
Place the basmati rice in half the water with the salt, and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Stir several times, then drain.
Add the remaining water and lemon juice to a 6-quart pot, bring to a boil, and add the drained basmati rice. Gently stir several times to prevent the grains from sticking together.
Bring the rice to another boil, and continue boiling for 7 to 10 minutes. Test for readiness by checking one grain. It should be soft around the edges and firm in the center.
Drain the rice in a colander, and rinse under cold water, allowing the rice to drain completely.
Rinse and dry your pot.
Add the oil and ghee or butter over medium heat until very hot, just short of smoking.
Arrange the lavash pieces to cover the bottom of the pot.
Remove the pot from heat, and using a slotted spoon, gently transfer the cooked rice to your pot, covering the entire surface of the lavash. Then add the remaining rice to form a pyramid.
If you are using saffron, sprinkle it over the top of the pyramid.
Cover the pot with a kitchen towel or damkesh, then top with the lid. Place the pot back on medium-low heat, and allow it to steam for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until the steam rises and the tahdeeg is crispy and golden brown.