Chicken Tachin Recipe


Chicken Tachin is a delectable Persian dish that combines tender chicken, aromatic spices, and saffron-infused rice baked to perfection. This layered rice dish is known for its golden crust and rich flavors, making it a favorite at Persian feasts and gatherings. Here’s a comprehensive guide to making Chicken Tachin at home, complete with ingredients, step-by-step instructions, and helpful recipe tips.

What Is The Difference Between Tahchin Morg and TahDig?

Tahchin Morg and TahDig are both beloved dishes in Persian cuisine, but they differ significantly in their composition and culinary role. Tahchin Morg, also known as chicken tachin, is a layered rice dish that features marinated chicken (Morg) combined with saffron, yogurt, egg yolks, and basmati rice, baked to form a golden, crispy crust on top and bottom. This crispy rice cake is typically served as a main course due to its rich, flavorful, and hearty nature. 

On the other hand, TahDig refers specifically to the crispy rice at the bottom of the pot when cooking Persian rice. It is not a dish on its own but rather a cherished component of Persian food, often served as a delightful accompaniment or garnish to the main rice dish. While Tahchin Morg is a complete dish with meat and a rice-yogurt mix, TahDig is a simple but highly prized textural element that enhances the overall dining experience.


For the Chicken Marinade

  • 2 large boneless skinless chicken thighs (or chicken breasts)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For the Saffron Rice

  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, soaked in 2 tablespoons hot water

For the Final Assembly

  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries or barberries (zereshk), soaked in water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds (optional)
  • 1/4 cup pistachios (optional)


Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 2 hours
Additional Time: 1 hour

  1. Cube the boneless skinless chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces and place them in a large mixing bowl. Top it with the spice mixture composed of turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, paprika, salt, and pepper.
  2. Thoroughly toss and mix the chicken and the spices until fully and evenly combined. Cover and set aside, refrigerating for about 1 hour.
  3. Next, time to make parboiled rice. To do this, rinse the basmati rice first in cold water and then bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add the rinsed rice and salt and boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
  4. Drain and transfer the parboiled rice to a large bowl and cool, about 15 minutes.
  5. Next, it’s time to cook the chicken pieces. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Once the olive oil is hot, add the chicken breast or thigh pieces. Cook chicken until golden brown, or about 5 minutes.
  6. Flip the chicken over and brown the other side. Switch to medium heat and add 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Cover the pan and cook until the chicken is done.
  7. Remove the cooked chicken from the heat and shred it with two forks.
  8. Add 1 teaspoon of saffron water to the chicken juices in the pan and mix it with the shredded chicken. Set aside.
  9. Time to make saffron rice. First, preheat oven to 400 F. 
  10. Make saffron water in a large mixing bowl by combining saffron threads and warm water. 
  11. Allow the mixture to steep for 5 minutes. Stir in Greek yogurt, egg yolks, salt, and olive oil in the large bowl. Gently mix saffron, yogurt, and half of the rice together until completely combined.
  12. Brush a glass baking dish or a casserole dish with olive oil or butter. 
  13. Place the baking dish or casserole dish in the preheated oven for about 3 to 5 minutes, just until the olive oil gets hot. 
  14. Use mittens to remove the baking dish from the oven and to a heat-proof surface.
  15. Assemble the rice cake layers. First layer, spread half of the rice and yogurt mixture into the baking dish. Spread in an even layer to cover the entire bottom.
  16. For the second layer, spread the remaining rice mixture on top of the yogurt rice layer. Sprinkle salt and pepper or spices.
  17. For the third layer, take the shredded chicken mixture and spread it over the rice layers. If you have remaining rice, add the rice mixture on top of the chicken. You may also spread any remaining yogurt mixture over the chicken.
  18. Cover with aluminum foil. If you want crispy rice cake, bake for 30 minutes at 450 F, then reduce the temperature to 350 F and bake for 1 hour. If you don’t want the crunch, reduce heat to 400 F and bake for 30 minutes, then reduce to 350 F and bake for 1 hour.
  19. Rotate the baking dish halfway to ensure that the chicken and saffron rice mixture brown evenly.
  20. Heat a small pan over medium heat. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter, then add the dried cranberries and sugar. Once sugar is mixed and combined, remove from heat.
  21. Take out the baked rice from the oven and remove the foil. Set aside for 10 minutes to let it rest. 
  22. Next, place a large serving platter over the cooked rice. Carefully invert and remove the pan. 
  23. Top with cranberries, almonds, pistachios, and fresh herbs. Serve. 

Recipe Tips

  • Always rinse the rice in cold water.
  • This recipe uses basmati rice but you can also use jasmine rice.
  • Parboiled rice is partially cooked rice. 
  • Marinate the chicken overnight if possible. This enhances the flavor and tenderness of the chicken.
  • Use good quality saffron for the best flavor and color. Soaking the saffron in hot water releases its color and aroma.
  • Ensure the rice is parboiled and not fully cooked before mixing it with yogurt and egg yolks. This helps achieve the perfect texture after baking.
  • Let the chicken and saffron rice rest before inverting it onto a large serving platter to help it hold its shape.
  • Remember to preheat oven to 400 F. 
  • You may also add dried fruit to the rice layers. Add half of it on top of one layer, and sprinkle over the remaining on top of the chicken.
  • If you don’t have a large bowl, a medium bowl will do.
  • You can add caramelized onions to this dish. To make caramelized onions, add a teaspoon of oil to a pan, add onions, salt, and pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the onions turn golden brown. Add half of the onions to the chicken mixture, while the other half can go in between the layers of rice. 
  • If you can’t find dried cranberries or barberries, sour cherries will do too. 
  • You can use lime if you don’t have lemon juice.

Final Note

Chicken Tachin is a true highlight of Persian cuisine with its crispy crust and succulent layers. The cooking process of Chicken Tachin Rice can be quite long, but it results in such a great recipe that will surely become a mainstay of any family meal.

Interested in learning more rice dishes to make for your family? Check out our recipe collection.