Tahri is a bright mixed rice dish that originated in northern India. Families often use tahri as a way of absorbing excess spring produce. This recipe is my mother's whose family would make it with potatoes, and serve with a side of green chutney.Jump to Recipe
While I was in Pakistan, my mother made a strong pitch to include a tahri recipe on the blog. A quick Google search told me that the dish is considered a part of Awadhi cuisine. This cuisine is native to Lucknow, a major culinary center in northern India. My friend, Shirin wrote a great piece on the origins of tahri in UP, and its many variations across the sub-continent.
While my mother’s family is not from that region (her family migrated from Ludhiana in Eastern Punjab), Lucknow’s cuisine has had a far reaching impact on the food of Muslims in the sub-continent.
When I shared a photo of tahri on Instagram, it was great to hear how so many people grew up with different variations of the dish. My friend, Pooja whose family comes from Sindh, grew up with a version of sweet tahri that she wrote beautifully about for NPR. Another reader’s family would prepare it from meat leftover from the night before.
For my mother, tahri is a classic summer dish that is best enjoyed with a side of green chutney. I personally enjoy it with yogurt, and a couple of teaspoons of Sambal chili paste. Given how easy it is to prepare, I am a little shocked that it took me so long to share it on the blog. But here it is, and I hope it will become an everyday go-to for you in the same way it has for me.
- ⅓ cup canola sunflower or vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
- 1 teaspoon crushed ginger
- ½ teaspoon kalonji/nigella seeds
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder
- 2 medium-sized potatoes diced
- 2 cups long-grained rice
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- Heat oil in a medium-sized stockpot. Lower heat and add crushed ginger and garlic. Fry for 30 seconds, making sure they don’t burn.
- Add kalonji, turmeric and red chili powder and fry for about a minute till they stop smelling raw. Deglaze the pot with a splash of water if needed.
- Increase heat and add potatoes. Add salt. Fry till they are cooked through, about 10 minutes.
- Add rice and stir it in with the potatoes.
- Add 4 cups water and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and let the water boil out, another 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Once the water is boiled out, tightly wrap a lid with a cloth and firmly place on pot. Turn the heat back up and dial to lowest possible point. Let the rice steam for another 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat, and serve with a curry of your choice, or simply a side of yogurt or chutney.