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Eggplant and Mushroom Baked Saffron Rice (Tahcheen)

Bright, vivid colors, a skillful use of aromatic spices, irresistible flavors coming from varied ingredient concoctions, and an eye-pleasing presentation with fresh herbs, dried rose petals, pistachios, almonds, or barberries scattered atop savory and sweet dishes. I love these things about Persian dishes. It is a beautiful cuisine. I find a lot of elements of it in my native Azerbaijani cooking.

One of my favorite Persian dishes happens to be tahcheen (or tahchin), an upside down baked rice. Typically, tahcheen isĀ  made with pieces of poached chicken sandwiched in-between layers of par-boiled rice, which is bound with plain yogurt and egg yolks, and perfumed with saffron. Once baked, the dish is inverted upside down onto a serving platter to reveal a crusty, golden bottom.

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