Saffron Rice Cake with Chicken (Tahchin Polo Ba Morgh)

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Rice Cake with Chicken on plateThis Persian dish is basically a savoury "cake" made from rice, yogurt, eggs, saffron and chicken. How it all binds together creates this most comforting pillowy texture unlike any other. Because it's cooked in a pot with oil, it has this amazing crispy outer shell. You slice right into it just like a cake, and enjoy the crisp exterior and the soft interior. To me, this is the epitome of comfort food. I urge you to try it. Aside from it tasting so good, I find it's also quite beautiful.


This one is decorated with barberries. You can find them on many online shops or in Eastern Asian supermarkets. You can also substitute them with dried cranberries, slivered pistachios, or almonds. The sky's the limit. The pre-cooked chicken I used in this recipe was chicken breast poached in onions, turmeric, salt and water. You can use any cooked chicken.



*This recipe includes a stovetop method and an optional oven method.


  1. Boil the soaked rice in 4 cups water. Drain when rice grains are al dente, soft on the ends and firm in the center. Let it cool down a bit.
  2. cooking rice

  3. Add a little bit of hot water over the saffron powder in a small bowl and mix well.
  4. mixing Saffron with water
  5. In a bowl, whisk the eggs, then stir in the yogurt and saffron until smooth.
  6. mixing egg, saffron and yogurt
  7. Add the saffron mixture to the cooled rice and mix well.
  8. mixing batter
  9. Place 4 tablespoons of cooking oil into a nonstick pot if you're cooking this on the stove. You can also use a baking dish from this step on and bake it in the oven. If you're baking, preheat the oven to 375 F.
  10. oil in pan

  11. Place half the rice mixture into the pot, then place all the chicken pieces on top.
  12. chicken in pan
  13. Cover the chicken with the rest of the rice mixture and pat down with the back of a spoon.
  14. patting rice in pan
  15. Pour a couple tablespoons of oil or melted butter (or half of each) over the rice.
  16. rice in pan
  17. Place the pot over medium heat. When you notice steam coming up, switch the heat to low, cover using a layer of paper towels under the lid, and cook for 45 minutes or so, until a crust forms at the bottom of the pot. All stovetops perform differently, so you may need to add or subtract about 5 minutes. If you're baking, just throw in the preheated 375 F oven and bake for 45 minutes.
  18. paper towel and lid on pan

  19. Allow pot to cool for a few minutes. Place a plate that is larger than the diameter of the pot on top, then turn the pot over onto the plate. The rice cake should come out in one go. Top with barberries, if desired. Slice and serve.
  20. Rice Cake with Chicken on plate

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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 167 Feedbacks
February 1, 20190 found this helpful

This seems absolutely delicious and the presentation is unique. Can't wait to try it this weekend. I might even try some variants, for example, using raw chicken instead of cooked chicken. The chicken juices should make the rice extra flavorful, and the chicken fat should help with browning as well (so I might use a bit less oil). Raw chicken should be thoroughly cooked with 45 mins of steaming so there shouldn't be any food safety issues. I might add a vegetable layer as well, or mix some peas,etc throughout the rice.


A sauce during serving may even make it more delicious as it soaks through the crunchy crust. Or maybe use pre-made Chinese fried rice (with pieces of meat and veggies already mixed in) instead of the basmati rice. I might even try a sweet version as dessert. The possibilities are endless. The end results may no longer be Persian but the best recipes are always copied and adapted by other cultures. Thanks for the inspiration!

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Diamond Post Medal for All Time! 1,246 Posts
February 1, 20190 found this helpful

Hi Bryguy! I love love love where your mind is going with using this recipe as a base idea! I am all for it! If something works well for you, share it here, please.


This is an ancient recipe from my family that I don't see getting tweaked too often so I am VERY intrigued what happens! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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