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! 

rhubarb short ribs

ok show of hands, how many of you did your homework and pickled rhubarb last weekend? it's ok if you totally slacked, this short rib recipe actually tastes its best when you take the full 48 hours to make it, which, coincidentally is the minimum amount of time that you want to have your pickles go for. so get started today for a badass supper on sunday. or! spend a week mentally preparing and then go for it, just in time for father's day. cause dad's love meat!!!! and if your dad is anything like my dad he also un-ironically likes the color of rhubarb (pink).


pops, why are you wearing a pink shirt??

pops: pink is my favorite color!

pops, why is your collar popped?

pops: it keeps my neck warm!

…was a real conversation that we had in the early 2000s, right around a time when pink popped collars were making their rounds in the preppy crowds of suburban american high schools. but pops doesn’t have an eye on trends, he’s just logical in his fashion choices and undoubtedly literally thought, “pink’s nice, warm necks are also nice, ok time to start my day!” before he cleared his entire wardrobe to make way for 70 different bernie sanders t-shirts, he had a large quantity of ahead-of-his-time millennial pink garments.

(end aside) 

so my dad likes pink! which is part of my explanation for when you ask why we're sprinkling our father's day meat with hot pink pickles. the other part is that we have shit tons of rhubarb and rhubarb with short ribs, it turns out, is the chrissy teigen and john legend of braised meat land. 

this recipe is heavily inspired by the pomegranate molasses braised lamb that i just about died over at zahav last month. they're a multi day production where you cure, braise, rest, reheat, inhale, exhale, and the only smells that really come close to as good all are freshly baked challah and santal 26. these short ribs pull sweet and sourness from a sticky rhubarb jam situation and then get some additional sweetness from their bed of onions that over time get caramelized down to almost an onion jam. the amount of flavor is a lil absurd. to the point where i had to actually pump the breaks a bit with the braising liquid by watering down my chicken stock. but paired with crispy persian rice and a bright pink sour rhubarb pickle, you basically have a perfect dinner. it's actually the dinner i had on my birthday right before eggboy’s cake!

i've done all this with bone-in and boneless short ribs. boneless was easy to pick up in town, while bone-in i had to call around about and then special order which yielded some gnarly grocery store phone holding music. i didn't necessarily find that the flavor (in this recipe at least) was sacrificed by having boneless, so i'll say that you should go with whatever route you'd like since i'm already asking a lot of you by requiring 48 hours for this thing.

the tahdig (crispy persian rice) is a great companion to this!! if you’ve never had it, there are great directions here. it’s just really delicious good rice with a crispy saffrony shell that, when all mixed up with short rib juices, adds some nice texture to the perfect bite. (i made minis in little cocottes and simply cut the cooking times down by a few minutes.) we also had these short ribs in tortillas one night with fresh herbs and a pile of pickled shredded carrots and it was mad good too. you really can’t go wrong. at all. which is what i like about short ribs. they taste so good even if you’re out of shape in the meat department and have to google dumb things like how to cut them. 

rhubarb short ribs

serves 6


Kosher salt

1/2 c + 2 tb (125g) sugar

1 tsp fennel seeds

1/2 tsp ground allspice

Black pepper

5 pounds bone-in short ribs or 4-4 1/2 pounds boneless short ribs

4 c (500g) rhubarb, chopped and divided

juice of 1/2 lemon

2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced

1 head of garlic, peeled, cloves smashed

2 tb olive oil

about 2-3 c chicken stock 

about 2-3 c water


for serving:

pickled rhubarb

tahdig (optional: top with crushed pistachios, chopped dates, and rose petals or ana)


day one: in a small bowl combine 2 tb salt, 2 tb sugar, the fennel, allspice, and a bunch of turns of pepper. rub it all over the short ribs and place them in a big pan. cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. 

(get your pickled rhubarb going)

make the rhubarb sauce (this can be made on day 1 or day 2): combine 2 c (250g) of the chopped rhubarb, the remaining 1/2 c (100g) sugar, and a good pinch of salt in a saucepan and heat over medium high heat, stirring often. when the rhubarb softens and collapses into a purée, reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring often, until it reduces to 2/3 c (200g). this should take around 25-35 minutes. stir in the lemon juice, let cool, cover, and refrigerate until further notice.

day two: preheat the oven to 475ºf. place the onions, garlic, and remaining 2c (250g) chopped rhubarb in a roasting pan and toss with the olive oil. if you’re using the same roasting pan that you cured the short ribs in, give the pan a little rinse first to get rid of any excess salt. place the short ribs on top of the onion mixture and roast uncovered for 20 minutes, until browned. 

take it out of the oven and reduce the oven’s heat to 325ºf. pour in the rhubarb sauce and then add the stock and water until it comes halfway up on the short ribs. i do this by pouring in one cup of stock, and then one cup of water, and then another cup of stock, and another cup of water, etc., and stopping once i reach the halfway mark. (you could also just dilute your stock before pouring it in but then you run the risk of having leftover diluted stock.) cover with foil and then bake for 5-6 hours, until the meat is very soft and falls off the bone (if you're going with boneless use your imagination to imagine if they would fall off the bone or not). taste it, add more salt if you feel like it needs it. at this point you *could* give in and eat it, but it’ll be better if you let it sit over night. so let it cool, cover it, and stick it in the fridge.

(oh also on day two, you can get your tahdig rice soaking)

day three: preheat the oven to 350ºf. scrape off the layer of fat that’s accumulated on your short ribs and discard it. cover the pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until heated through. 

make your tahdig. 

slice your pickled rhubarb.

slice and serve your short ribs, spooning some of the juices on top. top with pickled rhubarb (and fresh herbs for greenery if you'd like), serve with tahdig!

leftovers can be frozen!