Oh, okay, okay, I know it’s a fancy schmancy name, but stick with me and all will be explained.
The one and only time I’ve ever come across a Tah Chin was in the June 2014 issue of delicious. magazine (page 111). It was a Jamie Oliver recipe and I was so intrigued by the photo that I just had to try it for myself. Click here and you’ll see what I mean. According to Mr Oliver, a Tah Chin is a Persian dish, with a layer of beautifully rich and tender meat sandwiched between layers of rice. The rice is crunchy and golden on the outside and fluffy and moist on the inside, topped with a scattering of pomegranate seeds.
In all its slow-cooked gloriousness, Jamie Oliver’s recipe is really worth a try, although it does take quite a bit of time from start to finish. But it had me thinking about a quick lunchbox version. Instead of slow-cooking chunks of lamb fillet, I used lamb mince and made a quick hotpot. I served it with some green vegetables and rice for the evening meal, and then in about 10 minutes, I whipped up these little tah chins for the next day’s lunchboxes. I sent them to school with some carrot and celery sticks, cherry tomatoes and cucumber slices. The kids loved them. It’s worth noting, though, that my version does not have the same golden crunchy exterior. That reward comes only with patient slow cooking – another reason to try Jamie Oliver’s recipe.
Little Tah Chins
2 cups cooked basmati rice (method follows)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup Greek yoghurt
Pinch of salt
1 cup lamb hotpot (recipe follows)
2 sprigs flat leaf parsley, to garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 180° Celsius (conventional) or 160° Celsius (fan-forced). Grease and line 6 cavities in a half-cup capacity muffin tin.
In a large bowl, combine the rice, egg, yoghurt and salt. Mix well. Spoon into each cavity and press down with back of spoon until each cavity is about one third filled.
Spoon one heaped dessert-spoonful of the lamb hotpot into each cavity and spread so that it evenly covers the rice.
Spoon one heaped dessert-spoonful of the remaining rice over the top of the lamb and gently press down with the back of a spoon so that the rice evenly covers the lamb.
Cover the tray firmly with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove and discard the foil and bake for a further 5 minutes.
When cool, garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.
Lamb Hotpot with Basmati Rice
2 cups basmati rice (uncooked)
1 tbs oil
500 g lamb mince
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 gluten-free beef stock cube, or 250 ml gluten-free liquid beef stock
2 tbs chopped flat leaf parsley
Put rice in a saucepan, along with 4 cups of water and place on stove over high heat. Bring to the boil and then reduce heat to medium so that rice continues to simmer steadily. Simmer until all the liquid is absorbed. Set aside.
In the meantime, put a large frypan over high heat. Add the oil and heat a little, and then add the lamb mince and onion. Allow to brown, stirring from time to time and breaking up the mince into small, finer chunks.
Once the meat is browned, add the peas, cumin and coriander. Dissolve the stock cube in 250 ml water (or use the liquid stock) and add to the pan.
Bring to the boil and then reduce heat to medium. Allow hotpot to simmer for 10 minutes or until liquid has evaporated.
Set aside 2 cups of the cooked rice and 1 cup of the hotpot to make the tah chins. Immediately serve the remaining rice and hotpot.
Serves 4-5 people as a main meal.