Persian layered rice with saffron, chicken and eggplant
Serves: 8 people
Prep Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
4 cups basmati rice, uncooked
6 cups water
1 tablespoon pink salt
1 large eggplant, peeled
1 teaspoon avocado oil
1/2 teaspoon pink salt
6 pieces of skinless chicken breasts
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
1/2 cup cold water
1 teaspoon pink salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3 eggs, 1 whole egg + 2 egg yolks
4 cups plain organic greek yogurt
3 tablespoons avocado oil + 3 tablespoons for holes at the end
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1/2 teaspoon pink salt
Add the chicken + chopped onion + salt + pepper + garlic powder to a stovetop pot with a top.
Add water and cover.
Turn the chicken on low heat for about 45 minutes until the water is absorbed and the chicken is cooked and falls apart easily with a fork.
Once cooked, chop chicken into larger cubes and set aside for assembly.
Peel the eggplant. Cut into 1/4 inch rounds.
Lay the eggplant flat on a few paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Set out for about 1 hour to remove all of the moisture.
After an hour, remove the paper towel and lay on a foil lined baking sheet. Spread a bit of oil on top.
Bake at 400 for about 40 minutes total, 20 minutes each side or until cooked.
Once cooked, set aside for assembly.
Add the dry rice into a large flat stovetop pot. Add water to cover the rice, stir with the fingertips then drain the rice. Rinse and repeat about 4-5 times until the water comes out clear.
Add 6 cups of filtered water to the rice. Add salt then bring the rice to a boil over medium/high heat.
After about 10 minutes, reduce the heat to medium heat and stir the rice to ensure no clumping. Cook for an additional 5 minutes until the rice is par cooked (it will continue to cook in the oven).
Drain the rice in a strainer. Set aside for assembly.
Mix the yogurt, eggs, saffron and 3 tbsp avocado oil in a large bowl until smooth and creamy.
Pour 1/2 the yogurt mixture into the bottom of a glass baking dish (we used a 9 x 13 x 2 Pyrex pan).
Pour in about 1/2 of the rice to the bottom of the pan, mix to combine the rice and spread flat evenly in preparation for the next layer.
Add eggplant (optional). We added it to 1/2 of the pan and just layered them evenly.
Mix the chicken cubes into the remaining yogurt and egg mixture along with about 2-4 cups of cooked rice.
Arrange the chicken/rice mixture on top evenly.
Pour the remaining rice to the top.
Poke about 8 holes in the rice. Pour a total of 3 tbsp avocado oil into the holes.
Cover the tahchin with foil. At this point you can either refrigerate for up to 24 hours to cook later OR place directly in the oven.
Bake at 400 for about 1 hour 30 minutes or until browned and edges are crispy.
Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
To serve, place a large rectangular size dish on top of the Pyrex pan. Use oven mitts to grasp the edges of the Pyrex pan while also grasping the serving platter. Flip towards you.
We garnished with some plain yogurt (which is traditionally what we all eat most dishes with). Enjoy warm!