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4.95 from 19 votes

Persian Saffron Rice (Tachin)

Recipe video above. This is a rice side dish that will steal the show! The rice stays fluffy and tastes quite rich, but it's not heavily flavoured (hence suitable as a side dish), yet is flavoured enough that you'll want to eat it plain. The barberries provide welcome pops of sour but don't fret if you can't find them, see Note 2 for substitutions. This rice dish will pair terrifically with any Persian / Middle Eastern / Lebanese / Gulf recipes. See in post for Persian Feast menu!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 5 mins
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Side
Cuisine: Persian
Keyword: Baked Rice, Persian Rice, Saffron Rice
Servings: 9 - 12 people
Calories: 360kcal
Author: Nagi


Parboiled Rice:

  • 2 cups / 360g basmati rice (Note 1)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 3 litres / 3 quarts water


  • 1/2 cup dried barberries (Note 2)
  • 2 tbsp / 30g unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp rose water (optional)

Saffron Rice:

  • 1 tsp saffron threads (Note 3)
  • 2 tbsp warm water
  • 1 cup / 250 g plain yogurt (I use Farmers Union Greek Yogurt)
  • 1/2 cup / 125 ml oil , neutral (or butter!)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3/4 tsp salt


Parboiled Rice:

  • Bring water to the boil in a large pot. Add salt and rice. Bring back up to the boil then cook for 5 minutes. Drain and leave to steam dry for 5 minutes.


  • Melt butter in a small pan over medium heat. Add barberries and cook for about 1 1/2 minutes until they plump up (see video!).
  • Remove from heat (they will shrivel quickly) then stir through rose water (if using).

Saffron Rice:

  • Preheat oven to 200C/390F (standard) or 180C/350F (fan).
  • Lightly grease a glass pie dish with oil.
  • Ground saffron into powder (optional step). Add water and leave to seep for 10 minutes.
  • Mix yogurt, egg, oil, saffron water and salt in a large bowl.
  • Add rice, stir well.
  • Pour half the rice in the pie dish, smooth surface. Top with 1/3 of the barberries.
  • Cover with remaining rice, smooth surface, sprinkle over another 1/3 of the barberries. Press down firmly, cover with foil.
  • Bake 60 - 80 minutes until the crust is deep golden all over.
  • Rest for 10 minutes. Remove foil. Place serving plate on pie dish then flip upside down (it won't stick because of the oil, see video!).
  • Scatter surface with remaining barberries then serve.


1. Can be substituted with long grain or jasmine rice.
2. A Persian ingredient found at speciality and ethnic stores. Tastes sour and provides great pops of colour. Can be substituted with 1 cup of dried sour cherries or cranberries or craisins.
3. Can be substituted with 1/16 tsp of economical saffron powder. Basically, if saffron powder is around the same price as other spices, then it's the economical version ie not 100% saffron (saffron is the most expensive spice in the world). Grinding into powder is optional. I've done it without grinding and didn't notice a difference in overall colour though you do see little saffron strands (which is pretty!).
4. Slightly adapted from this Bon Appetit Crunchy Baked Saffron Rice.
5. Nutrition per serving.  Serves 8 to 12 as a side as part of a multi-course meal.
Nutrition Facts
Persian Saffron Rice (Tachin)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 360 Calories from Fat 162
% Daily Value*
Fat 18g28%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Cholesterol 75mg25%
Sodium 991mg43%
Potassium 96mg3%
Carbohydrates 42g14%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 190IU4%
Vitamin C 0.2mg0%
Calcium 55mg6%
Iron 0.5mg3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


Calories: 360kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 75mg | Sodium: 991mg | Potassium: 96mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 190IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 0.5mg