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My cookbook: "Tehran to New York"

On the Norouz day of 2020 spring, I finally published my book. The manuscript is titled: "Tehran to New York: A culinary bridge between Persian and Western cultures" and aims at presenting a unique blend of classic and contemporary Persian recipes, as well as samples of Western-style cuisine, offered in a Persian context. It is important to build bridges between cultures, and not walls. This book aims at constructing a bridge between the Persian and Western cultures. The book may be ordered here: https://www.amazon.com/Tehran-New-York-culinary-cultures-ebook/dp/B0861H47GS/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=tehran+to+new+york&qid=1584810930&sr=8-1  

Persian pumpkin Tahchin; rice baked in pumpkin yogurt custard with pumpkin spiced beef stuffing


"Tahchin" is a compound Persian word, used to describe a dish which looks like a rice cake. The word "Tah" means bottom and "chin" means to arrange in Farsi. The consolidated word describes a rice dish which often contains other ingredients mixed in and spread on the bottom of the pot; much like the Indian Biryani. Biryani dishes are generally accepted to be a Persian influence on the Indian cuisine, descended from Persian Tahchin dishes.
After my migration to America, I noticed the seasonal pumpkin spiced frenzy taking place every fall. The movement which started in coffeehouses now seems to be spreading out fast; of late, the pumpkin spiced activities seem to begin in mid-summer. This Tahchin recipe was, therefore, developed to catch up with such a popular trend. The resulting dish was phenomenally good, the dish became one of my all-time Tahchin recipes. I have posted other Tahchin recipes in this blog. Please note that this not an authentic recipe by any standard, only invented by me to participate in the previously mentioned pumpkin spiced everything hysteria.

Ingredients:
Rice:
2 cups long grain rice
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 cups water
1 TSP salt
1 lemon
3/4 cup sour cream
Pinch of saffron
Pumpkin spiced stuffing:
1.1 Pounds (~500 gr) boneless stewing beef, cut into small pieces
1 TBSP pumpkin spice seasoning (equal parts: Allspice, cinnamon, cloves, ginger powder)
1 medium white onion
2 TBSP mint, coarsely chopped

To a 3~4 Q.t. saucepan add the rice, water, pumpkin puree, salt, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, uncovered, until all the moisture is evaporated. The rice should be al dente and not quite cooked. Turn off the heat.
Fold in the sour cream and saffron and set aside.
While the rice is cooking, start the meat stuffing by browning all sides of the meat cubes. Sprinkle with the spice mix and let the spices toast in the oil for thirty seconds. In case you prefer larger chunks of meat, par-cook them for 15 minutes (with onions and mint of the next step added in). Remove from the pan and set aside.
In the same pan, lightly caramelize the onion, add half the mint. To assemble the Tahchin, spread half the rice mixture on the bottom of a heavy bottom non-stick 2~3 Q.t. saucepan. Sprinkle with the second half of mint.
Cover the rice layer with an even layer of meat, followed by the onion mixture. Cover the meat layer with the second half of the rice. Make sure the stuffing is completely sealed.
Cook for fifty minutes, following these instructions. The heat during the first five minutes must be high to generate the crucially needed steam; thereafter, it should be reduced to very low. The lid should be wrapped with a piece of clean cloth to absorb the steam.

When done, invert onto a plate, slice, and serve.

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