Chicken Tah-chin • ته چین مرغ
Recipe by: Fae’s Twist & Tango (fae-magazine.com)
• 2 cups basmati rice
• 1 Tbsp salt
• 1 large half-chicken-breast
• ½ small onion
• 1 medium onion
• 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
• 1 cup whole yogurt
• 2 egg yolks
• pinch (1/16 tsp) ground saffron
• 1/8 tsp salt
• 3 ~ 4 Tbsp vegetable oil
• ½ cup dried cranberries
• 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
To soak the rice
◊ Although today, clean fine rice is available, some imported rice brands may contain small, non-rice particles which must be scrutinized and removed by hand before washing. Also, some brands may need to be washed with extra agitation until water is clear. Put the rice in a large enough bowl with plenty of water and rub the rice between two hands to scrape off any powdery substance. Drain in a fine-meshed colander. Rinse the rice until clear water runs through.
◊ Put the washed rice in a bowl, add 1 Tbsp salt, cover with water level 3 cm/ 1″ above the rice, stir gently and set aside for more than an hour. This can be done in advance and soaked for 3+ hours, or overnight. (Note: A faster step for cooking rice is… wash rice and soak without salt for 30 minutes. Add the salt to boiling water and follow the next steps.)
To prepare the chicken
◊ Cut the chicken into four pieces. Chop the onion. In a sauce pan, cover the chicken and the onion with water and cook on medium-high until chicken is cooked. There should be little or no water left in the pot. Set aside to cool.
To prepare the caramelized onion -or- use 1 well rounded Tbsp of caramelized onions
◊ Cut the onion in half, putting the cut side on the board, slice in 6 mm/ ¼“ thick slices.
◊ In a non-stick fry-pan, heat the oil on medium-heat until hot. Add the cut onion, stir several times, until the onion is well caramelized. Scoop/drain out the caramelized onions and set aside. Oil left in the skillet will be used later.
To prepare the yogurt mixture
◊ In a medium-sized bowl, beat the egg yolks with a fork, add yogurt, saffron and salt, mix well and set aside.
◊ Place the rack on the middle shelf of the oven and preheat the oven to 175°C / 350°F.
To boil the rice
◊ Have a colander ready in your sink, one with fine-mesh or with very small holes, and with legs, so that it doesn’t touch the sink bottom.
◊ In a non-stick pot (9 cups capacity) bring 5 cups of water to a boil. Drain water from the soaked rice and add to the boiling water. Keep your attention on the pot or else the foam from the boiling rice may overflow.
◊ As the rice starts to boil briskly, lower the heat to medium-high and occasionally, gently stir the rice in a circular motion. At this point, taste the boiling water (carefully) to insure the salt content is to your taste. Add salt if needed.
◊ In a few minutes, after rice begins bubbling like a fountain, it boils slower/thicker. Test/bite a grain to check its hardness. Do this repeatedly, as timing is very important. As soon as there is no more hardness in the center of the rice (don’t let it get completely soft), drain rice in colander waiting in sink. It is better for rice to be a tad under-cooked than over-cooked. Rice should not sit in the colander more than a minute (it will continue cooking and be sticky soft). At this point, you must act quickly.
To prepare Tah-chin
◊ Pour 3 ~ 4 Tbsp oil in the Pyrex (1.65 liter/ 1.75 qt) or oven-safe deep dish.
◊ Add one-half of the boiled rice to the yogurt/egg mixture and mix well. Empty the rice/yogurt mixture into the Pyrex, over the oil, and spoon spread the mixture to form a bowl in the Pyrex dish.
◊ Shred the cooked chicken and layer on the rice/yogurt mixture (no chicken liquid).
◊ Sprinkle the caramelized onion on top of the shredded chicken.
◊ Sprinkle ¼ of the cranberries over the chicken/caramelized onion layer, and spoon ¼ of left rice in the colander over the cranberries. Repeat the cranberries and boiled rice three more times. This should fill the Pyrex to the top.
◊ With the tip of your four fingers or a small saucer, press the contents of the Pyrex tightly into the dish.
◊ Drizzle the melted butter and oil left from caramelized onion all over the top of the rice. Cover the Pyrex tightly with aluminum foil and put it in the preheated oven. Bake for 80 minutes or until you can see that the rice is dark-golden (see photo on top).
◊ Take it out of the oven and set on a trivet (no contact with cold water).
◊ To serve: insert a thin, long knife all the way down the edge, run it around the mold to make sure content is completely loose from the Pyrex. Wearing a pot holder, shake the Pyrex to make sure the rice is totally loose from the Pyrex.
◊ Choose a deep serving dish at least 5 cm/ 2″ wider on each side than the Pyrex. Invert the plate over the Pyrex and flip. Give the Pyrex a shake to loosen, unmold the rice and lift the Pyrex.
~ نوش جان • Noushe jan! ~
So, what’s cooking in your kitchen?