Most Armenians and Assyrians traditionally celebrate Christmas. This is one of the rice dishes that they make for lunch at Christmas, accompanied by turkey, chicken or lamb.
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- 1 1/2 cups rice basmati
- 4 oz roasted noodles broken into 3 cm /1 inch-long pieces
- vegetable oil
- 1 onion, large or 6 tsp caramelised onion
- 1 cup raisins golden
- 12 dates high quality, pitted and cut in half lengthways
- 3 tsp orange marmalade
- pinch ground saffron dissolved in 3 tsp hot water
- 1 salt
- 1 flour tortilla large enough to cover the bottom of the pan
- Place a colander (with fine mesh or very small holes) in your sink ready to drain the rice.
- Bring 7 cups of water to the boil in a non-stick pan (10 cup capacity with a lid) and add 1 tsp salt.
- Tip the rice into the boiling water and add the noodles. Be careful not to let the mixture boil over.
- When the rice mixture starts to boil, lower the heat to medium-high and occasionally stir the rice gently in a circular motion.
- Taste a grain of rice and once it is cooked al dente, drain the rice in the colander.
- Cut the onion in half and slice.
- Add 4 tsp oil to a pan and warm on medium-high heat. Fry the onion until golden brown and caramelised, then remove from the pan and set aside.
- Place the dates in the same pan and stir for a minute before turning off the heat.
- Add the orange marmalade, half of the caramelised onion and the dissolved saffron, mix and set aside.
- Put 3 tsp oil in a pan and cover with the tortilla.
- Add a quarter of the rice/noodle mixture and cover this with a third of the raisin mixture. Repeat twice, ending with the final rice/noodle layer.
- Poke some holes in the rice and pour 2-3 tsp of oil evenly over the top. Cover the pan with a sheet of kitchen roll and put the lid on tightly. Steam for 45 minutes on medium heat.
- Scoop out the mixture, a spatula at a time, into the serving dish (keeping the tah-dig intact at the bottom of the pot).
- Sprinkle the other half of the caramelised onion on top of the rice dish as a garnish.
- Use a wooden spatula to loosen and remove the tah-dig and serve in the same dish or separately.
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