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Dec 27, 2012 11:28 PM

Persian Rice Cooker?

I've got most of my rice styles perfectly fine done via stove top or oven, but getting proper tahdig has eluded me. I've asked all of my Persian friends and the general consensus is that even their grandmothers use rice cookers. Inquiring as to where I might be able to get one around Vancouver has gotten me nowhere though: All but one received them as gifts from family and that other guy brought it back all the way from Iran.

Anyone have any clue where I could look around Vancouver?

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  1. Tahdig is a tricky one. I can't make it worth a damn either!

    My mother in law can make it beautifully. I've watched her technique but the next time I try, it sucks :(

    Anyway, you can buy persian rice cookers but you may have to head to the north shore to a persian store. I'll get the name from my wife and report back.

    Update: My wife says try Afra on Pemberton or Persia on 15th.

    1. Tahdig is quite easy. All you have to do is add oil to the bottom of a pot and add mostly* cooked rice to it and cook on medium/low heat with a lid on for 15-20 minutes.

      *the rice shouldn't be cooked fully but should almost be al dente before it is put in the pot to make tahdig

      You can add sliced potatoes or pieces of lavash or pita bread to the bottom instead of the rice. (I love tahdig potatoes but everyone else in my family loves bread)

      Also using butter instead of oil makes the rice and the tahdig taste much better.

      You can also wrap a cloth around (under) the lid of the pot so that it can absorb the excess moisture.

      I would recommend just practising to make tahdig with a small pot until you get the hang of it.

      I wouldn't recommend buying a Persian rice cooker unless you are planning to use it often. Persian rice cookers are quite different from the typical variety - you wouldn't want to use them for south east asian rice. They are also not cheap. I think they are about $70-$100+.

      Pars on 16th and Lonsdale will have them.
      Afra on Pemberton might have them.
      Persia doesn't carry rice cookers.

      7 Replies
      1. re: quddous

        On a good week where I'm working 40 hours and not 80, there's a significant chance I'd be using it once a week in general and probably twice a month for meals where I'm entertaining. $70-100 isn't too shabby for that in my mind, but that said... I do intend to keep trying to make it come out as good as I've had when invited to feasts by my friends.

        I don't really love the idea of another piece of machinery in my kitchen; I learned to prepare just about every other variety and method of cooking rice I've ever used without a rice cooker expressly to get rid of yet another piece of machinery. I'm just getting bogged down with disappointment! Anyway, this isn't the homecooking board, so...

        It's nice to know that it is pretty readily available. Figured it would be, but I had no intel myself and now that I don't live on the shore, I don't really go down that way unless I have specific reason.


        1. re: thatwhileifound

          If you do head over to Lonsdale for the cooker, don't forget to check out Ayoub's and all the other cool Persian goods stores out that way!

          1. re: grayelf

            Oh, don't worry! I won't. I used to live up near the top of Lonsdale, so walking through that central Lonsdale bit was a staple of my walk home back in the day!

          2. re: thatwhileifound

            Although the Persian rice cookers give you the tahdig, the consistency of the rice they produce is wetter and stickier (kateh).

            The rice Persians serve company is chelow. Chelow uses the parboil then steam rice method. It is the type of rice Persians serve in restaurants, for nice home dinners and company. The grains are separate and the method of cooking allows the long grains of the rice to expand to their full length

            Kateh is the quick way of making rice and more of a weeknight dinner rice. The rice cookers will give you a beautiful pie like shell but then again it is the inferior (IMHO) kateh rice you will get. Same basmati rice. Different methods and results.

            I would spend the $70 and get someone teach you how to make chelow with tahdig. It is a beautiful thing and pretty quick once you conquer the technique.

            1. re: lunchslut

              hi LS - so is the "fancy" rice a different raw product in the beginning? or is it the cooking method that differentiates it?

              i assume one could find the raw materials on Lonsdale near Ayoub and the bakery that makes all those small cookies (sell by the pound)

              1. re: Georgia Strait

                GS- Same rice just a different method and only standard pantry ingredients needed -- except for the saffron. It is important that you use long grain Basmati rice.

                Lonsdale is the Persian town of Vancouver so it is the gold mine for Persian ingredients. There are at least 10 Persian bakeries in that area and they all sell by weight rather than by piece -- so go exploring!

                Fearful of the Chow Nazis, I have posted the link to the chelo recipe in the home cooking section. Here is the link to the new thread.


                1. re: lunchslut

                  that is very interesting - i clicked n clicked again to that recipe you suggest -

                  i also looked on youtube - that's interesting too - various methods ... one uses jasmine rice (tho she does mention basmati) - find the link about 12 year old shows how to cook chelo (sic)

                  another youtube recipe (look for "not a persian wife) suggests potatoes on the bottom of the second pan (after the parboil)

                  i once worked w a persian lady - beautiful downtown vcvr fancy hotel wedding ceremony (and i mean CEREMONY in a big traditional fashion with the wheat and honey etc) ... i wish i'd asked her at the time more about this - so i'm learning now ; )