A bit of tang from fresh tomatoes, lots of flavour from spices, loads of fibre and its gorgeous colours make this Persian tomato rice recipe one of my all time favourites. It’s so nutrient-rich and pretty. I love the orange colour and the specks of green from the peas.
I often make this either as a vegetarian/vegan course or as a side for grilled or barbecued chicken. And I use different kinds of rice, even risoni, and all are really good. The key is to make a good flavour base with tomatoes, onions, mushrooms and spices.
One can always use tinned tomatoes but using fresh tomatoes makes the dish so much tastier. There is a bit of tang in fresh, even slightly unripe, tomatoes that really helps with the flavour. I purée the tomatoes in a food processor, with skin and seeds. The rest is very easy. You just put all the ingredients in the same pan you used to sauté the onions and cook until the rice is cooked through and fluffy.
The Iranian way is to cook dami-ye gojeh in a non-stick coated pot and steam it until a crust (tahdig) forms in the bottom. We turn it out on a plate like a cake and cut it into wedges. I love tahdig but prefer to cook this one in a large deep lidded frying pan. This way I can cut out some of the oil as proper tahdig needs a bit more oil to caramelise well.
Last time I made this we had it two ways: with cooling minty yoghurt and cucumbers (vegetarian) and with shredded roast chicken. I love it both ways. So let’s get cooking! Cooking with half oil, half butter will make it even tastier so go for it if you like.
To serve four as a main or side for 4-6 people you will need the following ingredients:
For the yoghurt with cucumbers and mint chop half an English cucumber and add to 250ml yoghurt (natural, Greek-style, low-fat, full fat, whatever you like). Add a teaspoonful of dried mint and season with salt and pepper. Let stand while the rice is steaming to blend the flavours.