`Persian Tahdig with Mast-o-Khiar (Cucumber Yogurt Sauce) - Olive Oil Times

Persian Tahdig with Mast-o-Khiar (Cucumber Yogurt Sauce)

This traditional Persian rice dish has a perfectly crispy golden crust surrounding a fluffy and savory inside.
By Patterson Watkins
Jul. 21, 2023 18:08 UTC

This tra­di­tional Persian rice dish has a per­fectly crispy golden crust sur­round­ing a fluffy and savory inside. We part­nered this tahdig recipe with a creamy yogurt and olive oil condi­ment. 

Tahdig (pro­nounced tah-deeg”) lit­er­ally means bot­tom of the pot” in Persian. This bot­tom of the pot cook­ing’ gives this rice recipe its iconic golden brown and crispy crust. Saffron and extra vir­gin olive oil are respon­si­ble for much of the suc­cess and fla­vor of this dish. The saf­fron gives the rice its golden hue, while the EVOO is respon­si­ble for crisp­ing. The mast-o-khiar is a scrump­tious condi­ment con­sist­ing of cool­ing cucum­bers, creamy yogurt, golden raisins, refresh­ing herbs, medium-inten­sity extra vir­gin olive oil, and rose petals. Mast-o-khiar is an every­day condi­ment sim­i­lar to raita or tzatziki but with a slight vari­a­tion that ele­vates, adding a host of dif­fer­ent fla­vors and tex­tures. 


Persian Tahdig with Mast-o-Khiar (Cucumber Yogurt Sauce)

Course: SidesCuisine: PersianDifficulty: Medium

4 – 6

Prep time


Cooking time



There are a cou­ple of prep ahead steps you can do to shave off some time. You can steep the saf­fron and soak the rice well in advance for the tahdig. The mast-o-khiar can also be made a day or two in advance. Just keep it refrig­er­ated until ready to serve. 


  • Tahdig:
  • 2cupsbas­mati rice

  • 1/2tea­spoonsaf­fron

  • 2 table­spoonshot water

  • 1 table­spoonsalt

  • 4table­spoonsextra vir­gin olive oil 

  • 2table­spoonsbut­ter

  • Cucumber Yogurt Sauce: 
  • 1/4cupmedium inten­sity extra vir­gin olive oil

  • 1/4cupgolden raisins

  • 3/4cupcucum­bers peeled and minced

  • 2cupslab­neh or plain Greek yogurt

  • 1eachgar­lic clove peeled and minced or grated

  • 1tea­spoondried dill

  • 1 tea­spoondried mint

  • 1tea­spoondried pars­ley

  • salt and pep­per to taste

  • 1tea­spoondried rose petals


  • Place rice in a large bowl and cover it with cold water. Using your hands or a spoon, agi­tate the water, mak­ing sure all the grains are get­ting rinsed. Drain, rinse, and repeat until the rice water is less cloudy. Refill the bowl one last time, cov­er­ing the rice, and set aside to soak for 1 hour. 
  • Meanwhile, place saf­fron and hot water in a medium bowl and steep for 15 – 30 min­utes or until the water turns bright yel­low-orange. 
  • Once the rice has soaked, drain and trans­fer to a large pot. Fill the pot 3/4‑full with water, add the salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil the rice for 10 min­utes, stir­ring occa­sion­ally. You’re just par­tially cook­ing the rice for an over­all even steam while mak­ing the tahdig. Remove the par­tially cooked rice from the heat, drain, and rinse. 
  • Drizzle a Dutch oven with 1 table­spoon of olive oil. Place the remain­ing 3 table­spoons of olive oil in the bowl with the steeped saf­fron. Add half of the par-cooked to the bowl with the oil and saf­fron and stir to com­bine. Transfer that rice to the Dutch oven and press into the bot­tom of the pan. Top with the rest of the rice, press­ing to com­pact with the first rice layer. Dot the top of the rice with but­ter.
  • Drape a clean kitchen towel over the top of the pot, cover with the pot’s lid, and secure the towel, tying or tuck­ing to the top of the lid, away from the heat source.
  • Place the prepped pot over medium-high heat and siz­zle for 8 min­utes. Reduce the heat to low and con­tinue to cook, undis­turbed, for 20 – 30 min­utes or until the rice is cooked and golden-crisp around the edges. Remove from the heat and invert the Dutch oven on a large plate to release the rice. 
  • Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat to make the yogurt sauce. Once hot, add the raisins to the pot, stir, and warm for 10 – 15 min­utes or until the raisins have soft­ened. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool to room tem­per­a­ture.
  • Once the raisins and oil have cooled, trans­fer to a medium bowl. Add the cucum­bers, yogurt, gar­lic, dill, mint, and pars­ley to the bowl, whisk to com­bine, and sea­son to taste with salt and pep­per.
  • Sprinkle the sauce with dried rose petals before serv­ing along­side the tahdig. 

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