Monday, February 22, 2010

Day 53 - Tacheen! Otherwise known as Saffron Rice

I spent the weekend reading a series of books by Marsha Mehran. The first is Pomegranate Soup and the second is Rosewater and Soda Bread. The books are about a trio of sisters that escaped from Iran during the revolution in the 70's and ended up in Ireland. They own a cafe that specializes in Persian food, which is simultaneously yummy sounding and extremely exotic. And the books include recipes. :)

One thing that I've noticed is that a lot of Persian recipes include meat. Even those that appear to be side dishes (such as this recipe). This one sounded particularly yummy, though, and relatively easy to convert. Which I did.

Tacheen or Saffron Rice
  • 4 cups cooked Basmati rice
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • Saffron water (4 strands saffron dissolved in 8 tbsp hot water)
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 (10 oz) pkgs baby spinach
  • 7 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups thick, Greek-style yogurt
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup honey
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan. Add onions and half the saffron water, and saute for 10 minutes. Add garbanzo beans, turmeric, and spinach and saute for an additional 5 minutes.
  2. In a non-metallic bowl, whisk eggs and remaining saffron water. Add yogurt, salt, and pepper. Add garbanzo bean and spinach mixture. Mix well.
  3. Grease a 9x13 baking dish. Spoon in half the rice, patting it down evenly. Add half the yogurt mixture. Layer again with remaining rice. Add remaining yogurt mixture. Mix almonds and honey. Layer over the top. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven.
  4. Let cool for 15 minutes. Remove foil and cover with a large plate or platter. Carefully but quickly, turn the casserole upside down. Tacheen!
This is how I will make it the next time. Last night's version had a lot more rice and only 2 cans garbanzo beans, and 1 bag of spinach. The flavor is awesome, but it was a bit too starchy because there was so much rice--twice as much as in my updated recipe above. :)

As you can see, we didn't take ours out of the pan. I was too lazy to get out the platter that was big enough, and we were HUNGRY!
You may also notice that this is A LOT OF RICE!! Next time will be different. :)

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