Persian baked yoghurt chicken in rice

The Persian name for this dish is Taheheen – e morgh and I found it in the book Saraban by Greg and Lucy Malouf. I have never had a recipe fail from this duo.

The yoghurt and chicken in the marinade ready to be covered and placed in the fridge.

When I turned it out it reminded me of a big fat rice Timballo, the Italians would be impressed.

Now think ahead for this dish as you should try to marinate the ingredients in the fridge for up to 12 hours. Well if you are entertaining then you normally plan ahead, don’t you? I have changed their recipe slightly but only in some of the measures. This is a good looking dish with a moist filling seeing the crispy brown rice crust on this dish was worth the effort.

Baked Yoghurt rice with chicken or Taheheen – e morgh

Serves 6

350g thick natural yoghurt

3 egg yolks

4 tbsps Saffron liquid

(soak 20 threads of saffron in 4 tbspns boiling water)

1 tspn orange flower water

finely grated zest of 2 oranges

1 tsp sea salt

½  tsp freshly ground black pepper

500g boneless free-range chicken (breast and thighs) cut into 2cm cubes

400g Basmati rice

2 tsps sea salt

80g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing baking dish

Thick natural yoghurt and fresh herbs to serve


Beat the yoghurt with the egg yolks, saffron liquid, orange flower water, zest, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Add the chicken to the yoghurt mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or ideally up to 12 hours ahead of time.

Wash, soak and parboil the rice.  (I use a rice cooker and as soon as it the rice comes to the boil I turn it off and drain the rice).

Preheat the oven to 190c and butter a 2 litre ovenproof dish. (I use a cake tin with straight sides) Remove the chicken pieces from the yoghurt marinade. Mix half the parboiled rice with the marinade and spoon it into the base of the ovenproof dish. Spread the rice over the bottom and up the sides of the dish. Arrange the chicken on top of the rice, spoon in the rest of the rice to cover, and smooth the surface. Cover tightly with a sheet of lightly buttered foil and bake for 1½ hours.

Remove the dish from the oven and dot the surface of the rice with bits of butter.

Replace with the same piece of foil and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Turn the rice out onto a warm serving platter.  Serve with a bowl of creamy yoghurt and a selection of chopped fresh herbs – tarragon basil chives and parsley would be lovely.

Click here for a printer friendly copy of the recipe Baked Yoghurt rice with chicken



  1. #1 by Glenda on October 8, 2012 - 10:45 am

    That looks bloody good Roz. I have Saraban (actually I have all Greg & Lucy Malouf’s books). I think I will check it out. What did it taste like?

    • #2 by tastetravel on October 8, 2012 - 8:04 pm

      Saffron, orange flower water flavours infused the rice, the yoghurt kept it moist, the rice had two textures, soft inside and crispy, Glenda you will just have to try it for yourself.

      • #3 by Glenda on October 11, 2012 - 5:37 am

        Hi Roz, I think I will.

  2. #4 by Glenda on November 1, 2012 - 3:56 am

    Hi Roz, I tried it. Mine was pretty boring.I followed the recipe to the letter, maybe that is where I went wrong:(

    • #5 by tastetravel on November 1, 2012 - 4:37 am

      Glenda, what did you serve it with. Just on its own is not enough for a meal, did you take a photo? Did you get the lovely crispy crust exterior? Roz

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