Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Saffron Rice (Tahchin or Tachin)

Tahchin is a Persian/Iranian creamy (traditionally dairy-based), baked saffron rice dish. The top of this gluten free dairy free rice dish is crunchy on top. The recipe traditionally calls for whole milk yogurt. For those who are dairy-free, you can make gluten free dairy free saffron rice without the need to go out and purchase dairy-free yogurt, you can make dairy free tahchin/ baked saffron rice. Give it a try with traditional yogurt, store-bought dairy-free yogurt, or super easy homemade yogurt. The results are nothing less than incredible.

Traditional Tahchin:

Rice: Traditionally, tahchin is made using basmati rice, but I used what I had on hand, jasmine rice. You can even use long grain white rice if that is all you have.

Glass Dish vs. Metal Pan: If you have a glass pie dish, this is ideal to use because it allows you to see the color of the crust on the bottom, which is a key to when you want to stop baking it. However, I used an 8-inch round cake pan. When using glass, you’ll want to decrease the baking temperature by 25ºF and perhaps shorten the baking time. Again, you’ll be able to see the color of the crust at the bottom of the dish when using clear glass.

Berries: Barberries are the customary berries that are used to make tahchin. I used chopped dried cherries instead.

Rose Water: If you have rose water on hand, add 1 teaspoon to the wet mixture. I omitted this.

Egg: While most recipes call for whole egg, I wanted to avoid the flavor of egg, but just use yolks for color and richness. Instead of rinsing the rice prior to cooking to omit much of that stickiness/starchiness, I just rinsed it after parboiling so that some of that starch would cause

Meat and Vegetables: Along with berries, meat is often added. Shredded, boiled chicken would be perfect! Instead, I served this dish with chicken. You can even add sauteed onion or mushrooms.

Spices: Add your favorite spices. While I made mine nightshade-free (no pepper), feel free to add some to your liking.

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Saffron Rice (Tahchin or Tachin)

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Saffron Rice Cake

Creamy, tender rice cake with a cherry or berry filling with a crunchy crust.


  • 1 teaspoon salt divided
  • 1-1/2 cups jasmine or basmati rice
  • 1 tablespoon dairy-free margarine* Smart Balance (or unsalted butter)
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped (optional)
  • 2/3 cup dried cherries chopped (or barberries)
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads not packed, finely ground
  • 3/4 cup plain whole-fat coconut yogurt ( Easy Homemade Yogurt Recipe ) (or whole-milk yogurt) (not Greek)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil (grapeseed, canola, etc.) plus more pan
  • 2 large egg yolks (or 1/4 cup coconut cream (or heavy cream)


  1. Add the rice and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a 3-quart saucepan and cover with at least 3 inches of water above the rice, stir, and bring to a boil. Stir again and set a time for 7 minutes. Lower the heat between medium and medium-high, but keep it boiling. Drain using a fine mesh strainer and rinse with cold water.
  2. While the rice is cooking, if you are using onion, preheat a skillet over medium-high heat, add the margarine and lower heat to medium-low. Once the margarine melts, add the onion and saute until almost tender, 6 minutes. Add the berries and cook over until warm all of the way through and coated with margarine. Remove from the heat. If using rose water, stir that in at this point; set aside.
  3. Place the rack of your oven in the lower third section. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  4. Add the saffron to a pestle and mortar or in a clean coffee grinder and grind until a powder forms. Add powder to a bowl (large enough for all of the wet ingredients) and add hot water. Stir and allow to bloom (become fragrant and flavorful) for 15 minutes.
  5. To the saffron-water, add the yogurt, egg yolks, oil, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the drained rice and fold in to coat the rice using a silicone spatula.
  6. Using an 8-inch round cake pan as a guide, trace a piece of parchment paper and cut it out. You'll use this to cover the top of rice (then cover it with foil); set aside. Liberally oil the entire inside of the pan.
  7. Add a little more than half of the rice to the pan and using a spatula press the rice down to compact as much as possible. Add about two-thirds of the sauteed berries and sauteed onion, if using. Then, add the remaining rice mixture and press down to compact it. Cover the top with parchment and tightly wrap the top with foil. Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes. (The rice technically is done after 65 minutes, but if you want a darker brown crust, you'll need to bake it an additional 15 minutes.
  8. Let cool 10 minutes; remove and discard foil and parchment paper. Loosen the rice cake from around the edges of the pan using a butter knife. Place a dinner plate on top of the pan and invert the plate so that it is right side up. Distribute the remaining berries on top of the rice cake. (If some of the rice sticks to the pan, just scrape it off, trying to remove it in large pieces and place it where it belongs on top of the rice cake. Then, cover the cracks with additional berries as best a possible. Serve immediately. Cover and refrigerate leftovers up to three days.


Did you know?

Freezing leftovers is always best if defrosting time allows because food builds up in histamine the longer it sits in the refrigerator, even more so when it sits out at room temperature.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.