Tah Chin with Ground Lamb


Tah chin, sometimes called tahchin or tah cheen, is a recipe you should probably know. 

Iranian food has become one of my top foods over the years. Thanks to my Persian father-in-law, I know exactly what good koobideh kebab should taste like and how to properly navigate a pomegranate. I also know that you can, in fact, make khoresht sabzi with venison after one goes hunting in Northern Minnesota and butchers a deer in one's suburban garage.

Tah Chin with Lamb via Worthy Pause

The first time I had tah chin was the day after our wedding last year. My father-in-law ordered two whole lambs for a big celebratory picnic. Using the leftovers, he made this amazing stuff that's sort of like Iranian hot dish.

Turns out, it wasn't just his personal leftovers invention like I originally thought.

Tah chin is a thing and it's really delicious.

It's so easy to make and a great way to use up leftover lamb or beef (or venison if it comes to that). I'm sure I could come up with a paleo hack for this like the paella, but sometimes I just like to eat real rice, guys.

The tahdig (crispy rice crust) is the best part of this dish. There are literally fights over it at family gatherings. 

Tah Chin with Lamb via Worthy Pause
Tah Chin with Lamb via Worthy Pause




  • 1 lb. ground lamb, browned and seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, cumin and coriander (you can sub any leftover meat though — this is just a seasoning profile I like for lamb)
  • 2 cups basmati rice, cooked about halfway and drained (you can also sub 4 cups leftover cooked rice — I did and it wasn't terrible)
  • 2 eggs, scrambled
  • 1.5 cups full-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 small pinch of saffron threads, dissolved in 1/8 cup warm water 
  • 1 teaspoon of salt (to taste)
  • fresh black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons melted ghee
  • dried cranberries, barberries or pomegranate seeds to garnish
  • fresh dill and/or sumac to garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  2. Grease a glass casserole dish with ghee (the glass helps monitor the status of the tahdiq — crispy rice bottom).
  3. Mix all the ingredients but the dill in a bowl and press the mixture into the casserole dish (the whole bottom of the pan should have rice touching it).
  4. Then throw it into the oven for 1 hour or more, uncovered, until the bottom of the rice is nice and crusty.
  5. Let rest for 5-10 minutes, then flip onto a plate like an upside-down cake.
  6. Garnish with fresh dill and sumac (and dried cranberries or pomegranate seeds, if you like). Eat.


  • WTF is a barberry? It's a tart berry that usually goes on top of this dish. You can sub dried cranberries, pomegranate seeds or leave them out entirely if you don't have any in the cupboard like me.
  • You could add a 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric, mostly for color so it looks like you're super rich and flush with saffron even if you are not flush with saffron.
Tah Chin with Ground Lamb via Worthy Pause