Go Back
Tahchin Recipe - I got it from my Maman

Tahchin-e Goosht - Persian Saffron Rice Cake with Lamb

Course Main Course
Cuisine Persian
Keyword lamb, Rice, Rice Cake, Tahchin
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Hami


  • 400 g lamb shoulder or leg (approx. 0.9 lbs)
  • 400 g basmati rice (2 cups)
  • 250 g yogurt (1 cup)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 5 tbsp dried barberries
  • slivered pistachios (optional)
  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp ground saffron or saffron strands
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp salt for parboiling rice + seasoning


Prep the saffron

  1. Sprinkle the saffron on top of the ice cubes in a glass. Set them aside and leave to bloom. Alternatively you can dissolve the saffron in a few tbsp of freshly boiled water. Keep it in a warm place until you use it later.

Cook the meat

  1. Cut the lamb shoulder or leg into approx. 1 inch/2.5cm cubes. Roughly chop the onions and garlic. 

  2. Heat 2 tbsp of vegetable oil in a pan and sauté the onions for about 5 minutes. Then add in the garlic and sauté both together for another 3 minutes or so.

  3. Add the turmeric and black pepper and combine them with the onions. Add the lamb chunks and gently brown them from each side. Season with salt.

  4. Add 500 ml (2 cup) freshly boiled water to it, put on the lid and let it simmer over low heat for about 1.5 hours. 

Prep the barberries

  1. Heat 1 tbsp of vegetable oil in a small pan. Briefly sauté the rinsed dried barberries in it, add the sugar, give it a quick stir and take it off the heat. It shouldn’t take longer than that, otherwise the barberries might burn.

Parboil the rice

  1. Once the meat has been cooking for an hour, you can start parboiling the rice. Wash the rice in a bowl with water by just moving it around with your hand. Then drain the water and repeat these steps a few times.

  2. Bring a pan of water to boil. Dissolve 1 tbsp of salt in it (no worries, any excess salt will be washed off later, but trust me without this amount of salt your rice will taste bland). Add the rice, stir it well and allow the water to boil again. 

  3. Let the rice parboil for a few minutes. The cooking time depends on the rice you are using. Remove a rice corn from the pan after about 3 minutes and split it with your fingernail. If the outside is soft but the centre of the rice corn is still firm, it is parboiled and can be drained and rinsed now. Think of it as half cooked pasta for a pasta bake. It might take anything between 3 to 7 minutes for your rice to get to that point.

  4. Drain the rice water in a fine colander and rinse it with cold water. Stir it with a spoon while you rinse it to make sure that the excess salt washes off and that it cools down to interrupt the cooking process. 

Combine the ingredients

  1. To be on the save side use a coated pan. Transfer 1 tbsp vegetable oil into it.

  2. In a bowl combine the egg with the yogurt and dissolved saffron. Add the rice to it and stir until it’s coated with yogurt.

Layer and cook your Tahchin

  1. Add half of the rice to the pan, then spread the meat out evenly on top of it. Leave some space between the meat and the wall of the pan.

  2. Don’t throw away the meat stew, you can later serve it as a sauce for the Tahchin. Just let it run through a strainer.

  3. Add the other half of the rice and flatten the surface evenly without applying pressure. Just make sure there is at least 1 inch of space from the surface of the rice to the edge of your pan, because the rice will expand as it fully cooks.

  4. Melt the butter and pour it over the rice. Let the Tahchin steam for 40 min.

Serve your Tahchin

  1. Put on some oven gloves, remove the lid from the pan and put a serving plate upside down in its place. Carefully flip the pan around and remove it.

  2. Garnish your Tahchin with the barberries and slivered pistachios. Serve it with the sauce and yogurt. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

This time I made Tahchin-e Goosht (with lamb filling) but you can use this recipe to make any type of Tahchin you like. Simply replace the meat with chicken, if you prefer that. I recommend chicken legs, because they are more juicy than breasts. 

If you want to make a veggie or plain Tahchin, it will take you about 1h less, because you simply need to sauté your veg of choice before layering your Tahchin. Great veg to use for a vegetarian Tahchin are spinach or aubergine/eggplant for example. A plain Tahchin without filling makes a delicious side dish for any Persian stew.