If you or someone you know is Persian/Iranian, you've probably heard of a rice dish called tahdig. If this is the first you've heard of it, you're probably wondering "what is tahdig?" By the time you finish reading this, you're going to wonder where is the nearest restaurant/store you can get some because that is how great this dish is.

My whole family is Iranian, and every Friday night we would have some form of tahdig on the dinner table (yes, it also comes in different flavors). It's one of the first foods that gets devoured as everyone tries to get a slice of it. It's gotten a lot of hype, with the New York Times writing recipes about how to make it, and Bon Appetit's Andy Baraghani showing viewers how to make it. It's usually made with rice, but it can also be made with spaghetti, which is equally as delicious, but if you truly want to experience tahdig the Persian/Iranian way, it should be rice. 

So, What Is Tahdig?  

Tahdig literally means in Farsi (Persian) "bottom of the pot," which makes sense because when rice is cooked in the pot with some oil and saffron, the bottom layer crisps up nicely. It's usually pronounced "tah-deeg," and made with Basmati rice, but sometimes Jasmine rice can be used; there will just be a difference in texture. Basmati rice produces a fluffy tahdig, while Jasmine rice usually produces a stickier rice. Before placing the rice in the pot, it's important to add oil to get the crispiness, and also saffron and turmeric, for the color and flavor. This is just the basis for what tahdig is, but it can come in different flavors/colors. For example, there's red rice and green rice, made with different beans, cranberries, etc. There's even a rice dish with tahdig that can be either chicken or vegetarian (eggplant and mushroom), layered with rice and the bottom is the tahdig, but this dish has a different name: tachin (tah-cheen). Another version of this rice dish includes putting slices of potatoes on the bottom of the pot, then adding the rice. 

I could write about this dish for a long time, but you're probably wondering where on earth you could find this so you can try it for yourself. If you live in New York City, Long Island, or Los Angeles, tahdig is more accessible to you since those cities are where a lot of Iranians live, so you're more likely to find an Iranian/Persian restaurant. A popular one in New York is one called Colbeh. It also has great kabobs to have as a side with tahdig and rice. If you live in Los Angeles, there's a whole list of Persian restaurants you can choose from. Though if you don't live in one of these cities that I mentioned above, you could always do a quick search for Persian restaurants in your area, and go to the nearest one. From someone who studied abroad in Florence for four months and had unlimited access to all the Italian food, I still missed Persian food. I highly encourage you to explore the Middle Eastern/Iranian cuisine further. Tahdig is one of the best Persian dishes in the cuisine, but there's a whole lot of other non-rice dishes to try.