Baked yoghurt rice with chicken

Baked yoghurt rice with chicken

New Middle Eastern Food
Mark Roper

Known as tahcheen-e morgh, this is another attractive layered rice dish from Iran that is great for special occasions. If you have leftover cooked chicken from your Sunday roast, then by all means use it instead of the fresh chicken given here. Try to marinate the meat — whether raw or cooked — for at least 2 hours, as it really does develop the flavours.


Quantity Ingredient
250g thick natural yoghurt
3 egg yolks
3 tablespoons Saffron chelow, (liquid)
1 teaspoon orange-flower water
1 orange, finely grated zest
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
500g boneless free-range chicken breast and thighs, skin removed and cut into 2 cm cubes
400g best-quality basmati rice
2 tablespoons sea salt
80g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
thick natural yoghurt and fresh herbs, to serve


  1. Beat the yoghurt with the egg yolks, saffron liquid, orange-flower water, zest, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Add the chicken to the yoghurt mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 12 hours ahead of time.
  2. Wash, soak and parboil the rice as with Persian chelow.
  3. Preheat the oven to 190ºC and butter a 2 litre ovenproof dish. Remove the chicken from the yoghurt marinade. Mix half the parboiled rice with the marinade and spoon it into the base of the ovenproof dish. Spread the rice over the bottom and up the sides of the dish. Arrange the chicken on top of the rice, then spoon in the rest of the rice to cover, and smooth the surface. Cover tightly with a sheet of lightly buttered foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the dish from the oven and dot the surface of the rice with bits of butter. Replace the foil and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Turn the rice out onto a warm serving platter. Serve with a bowl of creamy yoghurt and a selection of fresh herbs such as tarragon, basil, chives and parsley.
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