tahdig shakshuka

With the way that people talk about making tahdig, you’d think that they were talking about reading Ulysses or something. Not that I would really know for sure since I am about 100% positive that I will die without having read Ulysses but I’ve felt the size of it and I’ve heard Eggboy talk about it and at this moment in time that is the best comparison I can think of because both require time and patience, and 30% of the time, you fail. 

When you do succeed though you’re rewarded, of course. Not necessarily with fireworks and instagrammability, but with satisfaction and maybe some street cred?? They’re beasts. One would take me 10 years to finish, another, it turns out, you can do in an evening so long as you focus and have the right tools.

Tahdig is a Persian dish that consists of the crispy layer of rice that forms at the bottom of the pot. It’s often flavored with saffron and can also be made with vegetables or bread. It is so good and I can’t believe it took me until 2017 to make it for the first time. I think I first heard about it from Naz at the Saveur awards back in 2014. I remember her talking about how much patience you need to make it and how exciting it is when it works. I love her post about Tahdig, where she compares it to a coy lover. Ok maybe that’s better than Ulysses. A while back in New York, a few friends attempted it for our Shabbat potluck but I remember them not being so satisfied with how it turned out. It’s just so hard to tell when the crispiness forms and then once you flip it out, I don’t think you can crisp it up anymore. In Berlin, Sophie and Xenia turned out like 12 perfect Tahdigs in a row, it was super human and they all looked like gorgeous yellow cakes destined to sop up short rib juices. Shortly thereafter I had a miniature tahdig at Zahav with their legendary braised lamb, and then finally it was time to make it at home. 

It was not a total failure but, you’ve seen my little stove coils, they can only heat so much and tahdig requires a very even heating element. So I tried it out in my mini cocottes and it worked for a few but then got fussy when I tried to make 30 of them for a dinner party. It was actually really traumatizing and I didn’t make tahdig for a long time after that. I kind of came to the conclusion that my go-to cast iron pots weren’t necessarily the right option for tahdig and started creeping around the internet for alternatives. Anytime tahdig would come up on my IG feed, I’d kind of stalk the account to see if they posted the pot they made it in…

And then a few months ago Alana started raving about her GreenPans and how nonsticky and easy to clean they were (I think she has become my new kitchenware curator btw), so when GreenPan got in touch to work on this post I figured I’d better at least try a Tahdig in one before making any decisions, so I did and guess what! I nailed it the first time. And the second, third, etc., etc. The coating on the pans is not only so nonsticky that the tahdig practically slides out of the pan and into my mouth, but it also heats so evenly that I can use their 12” pan on my 8” coil and still get an evenly yellow saffrony ghee-y crust. And it doesn’t contain the crusty nonstick stuff that peels off and kills u. I am hella sold. (the pan i'm using is part of their 10th anniversary set and it's on sale rn!) I know Alana likes making eggs in them and now that it’s fall I’d like to try making caramel for my apples in them but for now I’m just really glad to have filled the void in my life that was a perfect Tahdig pan.

Let’s talk about why this Tahdig is different from all other Tahdigs: In a shakshuka-inspired move, it’s got poached eggs all up in it. “Just because it has poached eggs doesn’t make it a shakshuka” wrote Jeff after I IG-ed it. It spurred a long argument that is still not over. He thinks it is more similar to Maqluba and that shakshuka requires a sauce. My argument was that even though most shakshukas have tomato sauce, shakshuka isn't required to have tomatoes or even a sauce (see: green shakshuka). darya said it might be similar to mirza ghasemi! which i've never had but sounds delicious. What do you think? I love shakshuka and I also love this dish and definitely feel like shakshuka doesn’t really need to have tomato sauce… but… tomato tomahto? 

This dish is crispy rice, eggs, and a party full of toppings. I basically just pulled a bunch of pretty things from my garden and threw them on top. I would def recommend topping this with at least pickled onions, fresh lemon juice, herbs, and tomatoes if you have them. Feta was also great! But you can really go wild and use whatever toppings you have on hand. This recipe makes a big batch and is perfect for a brunch party. And seriously with an even nonstick pan like this one, you can go confidently in the direction of tahdig, even on your first try.

tahdig shakshuka

makes 6 servings


540g basmati rice

kosher salt

1/8 tsp saffron

3 tb ghee

6 eggs

for topping: black pepper, crushed red pepper, fresh basil and mint, pickled onions, lemon wedges, feta, chopped scallions, chopped tomatoes, other herbs/cheeses/sauces as desired


In a large bowl, cover the rice with enough water so that it comes up a couple inches above the rice and soak for 30 minutes. Drain the rice and then rinse it well. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons salt. Boil the rice until it’s soft on the outside but still has a bite on the inside, about 4-5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cool water to stop the cooking. 

Crush the saffron using a mortar and pestle and then dissolve it in 3 tablespoons boiling water. 

Heat a 12” lidded nonstick Greenpan over medium high heat and add the ghee and the saffron water and swirl it around so it coats the pan evenly. Add the rice and pack it down firmly with the back of a spatula, making a pyramid shape in the center. Use the handle of a spatula to poke a few holes in the rice, stopping right before you get to the very bottom of the rice. Carefully cover the skillet with a clean dish towel and then the lid, folding the corners of the towel up around the lid so they don’t touch the stove (if you’re working with a gas range, you may want to fold the towel up around the lid before putting it on the skillet to be extra careful that your towel doesn’t get in the flame). Cook on medium high for 30 minutes and then reduce the heat to medium low. Carefully uncover the pot, keeping the cover level so that any moisture collected under the towel doesn’t spill out and burn you or fall back into the rice. Using a spoon or spatula, create 6 egg-sized divots about an inch apart and crack in your eggies. Cover (you don’t need the towel for this step) and cook until the whites are cooked but the yolks are still runny. Top with black pepper, crushed red pepper, fresh basil and mint, pickled onions, a few squeezes of lemon juice, feta, chopped scallions, chopped tomatoes, and/or other herbs/cheeses/sauces as desired, and serve immediately. Enjoy! 

Thank you GreenPan for these pans and for sponsoring this post and for making the perfect Tahdig pan! the lidded one pictured is part of their limited edition 10th anniversary 5-piece set ($59.99) which includes a smaller 10” pan, a bamboo spatula, and a recipe book, and all greenpans are 20% off from 9/15-9/24. greenpans have a ceramic nonstick coating, thermolon, that is made from a sand derivative. it is high heat resistant and won’t ever peel off or emit harmful fumes. 

All photos are by Chantell and Brett Quernemoen! 

shallot mujadara with herby yogurt and almonds

i hope everybody had a glorious thanksgiving that was filled with pumpkin, gilmore girls, stretchy pants, enough leftovers to make a day-after-thanksgiving sandwich, and lots of niece/nephew puppies. eggboy and i are back from chicago and ready to hunker down for the winter! i have no traveling lined up for this entire month and ooh baby, i am going to clean. i have an exploding prop room, a closet with as many clothes on the floor as there are falling off hangers, and a pantry that has... ugh, i don't even want to know what it has. 

i'm not going to leave the house unless i absolutely have to. so get me a bulk bag of lentils and call me sia

did i ever tell you about the time when eggboy insisted that we buy the bulk lentils from costco? this was back when i lived in brooklyn. we were going through this phase where we ate deb's lentil soup with sausage and chard almost every other day so upon our very first visit to costco as a couple eggboy thought it would be cute and hilarious if we got the ginormous, dog-food-sized bag of lentils. we hauled it back, leaving a trail of dried lentils all the way to and from the subway, and then got to work making soup. in three days we were sick of them and never wanted to see another lentil ever again for as long as we lived.

(they're probably still in that apartment. (old roommate patrick, are those lentils still there?))

but then!

i tried mujadara for the first time and all bets were off. my eyes rolled to the back of my head and i was like ermagerrrddd i loooove mujadaraaaaa. it's rice, lentils, **tonnnnns** of crispy fried onions, and all of the cold weather spices that you want right now, such as cinnamon and cumin and allspice. it's so comforting. it kind of has the appearance of a side dish, but when you think about how it's got lots of lentils, you'll realize that you can totally get away with making this a casual main. yogurt and a sprinkle of toasted almonds add more protein, and fresh herbs and lemon add a nice pop of brightness. and my version is made with shallots since over the summer our garden yielded shallots galore. 

and my love of mujadara came just in time for the end of the year of pulses. have you been keeping up with your pulses this year?? i have. and not just because they present an easy way of keeping protein on hand at all times, reducing my need to put on pants and go to the grocery store. i've discovered so many great new ways to use beans, dry peas, and lentils, and i hope you have too! 

shallot mujadara with herby yogurt and almonds

serves 6-8


1 c brown or green lentils, rinsed

2 cloves garlic, halved

1/4 c canola or good olive oil

12 shallots (or more, mo' shallots mo' better)

1 tb cumin seeds

1 tb coriander seeds

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp allspice


a dash of nutmeg

1 1/2 c basmati rice

kosher salt

for the herby yogurt:

1 c yogurt

1/2 c herbs (mix of cilantro, parsley, mint), finely chopped, plus more for garnish

juice from 1/2 lemon

2 cloves garlic, minced

Kosher salt and pepper

for serving:


1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted


in a medium saucepan, cook the lentils in 3 cups of water with 2 cloves of garlic for 15 minutes, until tender. remove the garlic cloves, drain and set aside.

heat the oil over medium high heat, fry 1/2 of the shallots until crispy and remove to a paper towel lined plate. sprinkle with salt. reduce heat to medium and add the remaining shallots. cook, stirring until golden. add the spices and cook for 2 more minutes. add the rice and 1 tsp salt,  and toast, stirring, for 2 minutes. add 2 1/4 cups water and lentils and bring to a boil. reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 25 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. 

to make the herby yogurt, combine the yogurt, herbs, lemon, garlic, a pinch of salt and a few turns of pepper.

transfer the rice to a serving platter, top with the fried shallots, herbs, sumac, and almonds. serve with yogurt. enjoy!



this post was sponsored by usa pulses & pulse canada! hooray for 2016 being the international year of the pulse! pulses are good for the health as well as the environment, so all year long (and beyond!), eggboy and i will be challenging ourselves to eat pulses at least once a week and throughout the year i’ll be sharing recipes for all sorts of pulses. if you’d like to join in on the fun, head over to pulsepledge.com and take the pulse pledge with us!!


i miss new york's asian culture.

i miss red bean popsicles and taro soft serve. i miss the cotton candy machine outside of kenka (and all the food inside kenka)... i miss ktown karaoke and even ollie's delivery... i miss those lazy days when you have nothing to do but day drink and stand in the totto ramen line. i miss that there is a place where you can sit on the floor, eat manta ray fin, and enjoy your bottle of sake leftover from the last time you were there. i miss dim sum and xi'an famous and i really miss being called other other june by the percussionists (hi june! hi other june!). 

i even miss the occasional accidental barfing up of all of my ktown barbecue.

save for my town's little pad thai place, there is very little asianness here. there is an asian grocery and a few, like, fusion things. but i just googled "north dakota izakaya" and it was a sad sea of emptiness. 

this weekend, my new york asian missings pointed to onigiri, those comforting little rice balls that are the subject of not one, but two emoji. so i made some, but first i tapped my life's resident onigiri expert, chris, for a few words to describe the perfect onigiri:


crunchy (the seaweed)

toothsome (the rice)

mysterious (the filling)


additionally, a perfect onigiri must be salty enough. there is no excuse for an under-salted onigiri, says chris.

an onigiri is typically salted by salting your hands or dipping your hands in salt water when you mold them, but i have not had too much luck when molding onigiri in the past, so i tracked down this handy guide on how to form onigiri. my favorite method, as seen in the above gif, is the cookie cutter method. after forming them, i sprinkled salt all around the outside. 

i also found that adding a bit more water when using brown rice helps the onigiri to keep its shape. the rice will indeed be a bit more mushy, but i like mushy things!

these little guys make the perfect quick snack because they can be stored in the fridge and eaten immediately. i bet eggboy is the only farmer in the midwest to have brought onigiri for lunch yesterday. kekekeke.

honey + bacon onigiri 

makes 4 onigiri 


1/2 batch of this sushi rice* at room temperature

1 tsp soy sauce or tamari

1 tsp sesame oil

2 tsp honey

1 stalk green onions, finely chopped

2 slices cooked bacon, finely chopped

a pinch of chili flakes

kosher salt

sesame seeds  

4 strips of seaweed  

*if you're using brown rice, i'd recommend adding a bit more water so that it's easier to mold (i added 1/2 cup... this might be too mushy for some people's tastes, so start with 1/4 cup and add more if necessary)


to make the filling, mix together the soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, green onion, bacon, and chili flakes. 

to mold the onigiri, refer to this handy guide

sprinkle with salt and sesame seeds

if you are eating them immediately, wrap in seaweed and enjoy! if you are saving some for later, wrap them in plastic wrap and store in the fridge. add the seaweed right before consumption so it is crunchy!

enjoy! and also tweet about it using the onigiri emoji :-) :-) 




annnnnnnnd i'm drunk.

in the same way that the calories don't count if your boyfriend orders the fries and you steal them off of his plate, the drunkenness doesn't count if you're cooking with wine and just accidentally pour a bit too much.

that is where i found myself at 11 in the morning: at the stove, standing over a pan of risotto, listening to israeli pop music, with a glass of pinot in one hand, and my book in the other. is this what my life has come to? thought my tipsy self as i poured the fourth cup of chicken broth into the rice. well, helll yeah! just add a chicken coop and i'm never leaving this place! responded my other self to myself. (in my defense, i've been up since 1 am working at the bakery?)

i should really shut up now. 

the bottom line is: risotto season is here. it is cold, it is rainy, and there is snow in my state. i really hope it makes its way over to my town.

i've been on the hunt for a way to make risotto extra creamy without the cheese, so that eggboy can eat it, and it turns out that pumpkin does just the trick! i am shoveling this stuff into my mouth right now, it is so good. it is also quite easy. at least easy enough for a drunk girl to make. 

so put on your sweater, designate a driver, and get cooking. 

creamy pumpkin risotto with bacon and leeks 

makes 2-4 servings 


1/4 c olive oil

1 leek, finely chopped

4 cloves of garlic, minced

4 slices of bacon, chopped to 1/2-inch pieces

1 c arborio rice

4 c hot chicken broth

1 c white wine, plus more for sipping while you stir

1 c pumpkin puree

black pepper and chili pepper, to taste


in a large pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. add leeks and cook until soft, about five minutes. add garlic and cook for two more minutes. add bacon and cook until it starts to get crispy. 

add rice and cook, stirring, for a few minutes until it is slightly toasted. add one cup of broth and cook, stirring, until it is absorbed into the rice. repeat this process with the remaining three cups of broth and the one cup of wine. 

stir in pumpkin, black pepper, and chili pepper, and cook for a few more minutes.  

serve it with a really big smile or eat it all by yourself in bed with netflix.