Tahchin with Sour Cherries and Yogurt Sauce

This crispy, golden rice cake studded with red wine–infused cherries is served with a savory yogurt sauce.

Tahchin with Sour Cherries and Garlic-Yogurt Sauce

Greg Dupree / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Audrey Taylor

Active Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 55 mins
6 servings

Crispy, saffron-stained rice is cooked in buttery ghee and layered with red wine–infused dried sour cherries. The accompanying yogurt sauce’s secret ingredient, shio koji, is a fermented rice product often used to boost umami. Ethan Speizer, executive chef at Ashes & Diamonds, created this tahchin as a way to pay homage to both his Ashkenazi Jewish heritage and owner and proprietor, Kashy Khaledi’s Iranian background. Liquid shio koji, made from fermented rice malt, adds a salty and savory flavor to foods. Find it at specialty stores or online at shared-cultures.com. The yogurt sauce can be prepared up to three days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


Sour Cherries

  • 1/2 cup dry red wine (such as Ashes & Diamonds Grand Vin)

  • 4 (4- x 1-inch) orange peel strips (from 1 medium-size orange)

  • 3/4 cup dried sour cherries

Yogurt Sauce

  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt

  • 1 teaspoon liquid shio koji (such as Shared Cultures) 

  • 1 teaspoon golden sesame oil (such as Wadaman) or garlic oil (optional)

  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

  • 1 large garlic clove, grated (about 1/2 teaspoon)


  • 2 cups uncooked aged white basmati rice

  • 2 1/2 quarts water, plus cold water for rinsing rice

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)

  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads

  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt

  • 2 large eggs, beaten

  • 1/2 cup ghee, melted, plus 1 tablespoon ghee, divided 

  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil

  • Ground sumac, thinly sliced fresh chives, and olive oil, for garnish


Make the sour cherries

  1. Heat wine and orange peel strips in a small saucepan over medium until simmering. Stir in cherries, and remove from heat. Let stand until cherries are plump, about 30 minutes. Drain well; discard orange peel strips.

Make the yogurt sauce

  1. Stir together yogurt, shio koji, sesame oil (if using), salt, and garlic in a small bowl; chill, covered, until ready to use.

Make the tahchin

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Place rice in a large bowl, and add cold water. Using your hand, stir rice to release starch; drain. Repeat rinsing process 5 to 7 more times until water runs clear. Bring 2 1/2 quarts water to a boil in a large saucepan over high; stir in 1 tablespoon salt. Stir in rice, and boil, stirring occasionally, until rice is tender on the outside but al dente in center, 6 to 8 minutes. Meanwhile, line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Drain rice, and spread in an even layer on prepared baking sheet. Let cool 20 minutes. Gently fluff rice using a fork.

  2. While rice cools, stir together lemon juice and saffron in a small bowl. Let mixture stand 20 minutes.

  3. Stir together rice, lemon juice mixture, yogurt, eggs, 1/2 cup melted ghee, grapeseed oil, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl until rice is evenly coated.

  4. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon ghee in a 9-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high until smoking; swirl ghee to coat skillet. Spread half of rice mixture (about 3 1/2 cups) in bottom of hot skillet. Arrange cherries on top of rice mixture, leaving a 1-inch border around perimeter of skillet. Spread remaining rice mixture over cherries, gently pressing with a spatula to form a compact, even layer. Cook over medium-high for 6 minutes, turning skillet 90 degrees every 2 minutes to help form bottom crust. Cover skillet tightly with aluminum foil, and bake in preheated oven until rice around edges of skillet is deep golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. (To check doneness, use a small offset spatula to gently pull rice away from sides of skillet.)

  5. Uncover tahchin, and let cool in skillet 5 minutes. Place a large plate or cutting board on top of skillet, and invert tahchin onto plate. Cut tahchin in half. Spoon about 1/2 cup yogurt sauce along 1 side of each of 2 large plates. Place 1 tahchin half alongside yogurt sauce on each plate. Garnish with sumac and chives, and drizzle with olive oil. Serve immediately.

To make ahead

Yogurt sauce can be prepared up to 3 days in advance and stored in a container with an airtight lid in refrigerator.

Suggested pairing

To go with his recipe, Khaledi recommends his winery’s Ashes & Diamonds Grand Vin. “Ashes & Diamonds tahchin goes well beyond — i.e., it’s not my mother’s tahchin — uniting uncommon ingredients such as fermented garlic, yogurt, koji, hydrated sour cherries (in Ashes & Diamonds’ Grand Vin, of course), and sherry vinegar with core ingredients such as basmati rice, saffron, and eggs. Paired with 2017 Grand Vin, the saffron flavors from the wine and the tahchin unfurl in stereo.”

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