Butter + rice + saffron = Persian tahdig (Plus: a refreshing sharbat)

Try two of Naz Devarian's favorite recipes for entertaining guests from her new cookbook, "Bottom of the Pot:" Honey and vinegar sharbat and baked saffron yogurt rice with chicken.

Photo by Eric Wolfinger.

Growing up in Tehran, Naz Deravian watched her parents entertain groups of friends with meticulously prepared Persian dishes. Now a mother and wife in Los Angeles, Deravian loves to invoke these memories while cooking for her own family. Her new cookbook, “Bottom of the Pot,” features favorites like tahdig, a delicious crunchy rice dish that involves saffron and heaps of salty butter. But the hardest part of making Persian food? Getting family to help prepare the mountains of herbs.

Try two of Deravian’s favorite recipes from her new cookbook. First, Sharbat-e Sekanjebeen is a centuries-old concoction of honey (or sugar) and white wine vinegar simmered until slightly thickened, infused with fresh mint, diluted with water, and served chilled over ice and garnished with cucumber. Sharbat-e Sekanjebeen is touted for its healing benefits, such as cooling and restoring balance to the body. Many think of the taste as a Persian lemonade. To make a sekanjebeen cocktail, Deravian says to try a splash of vodka or a dry, crisp Lambrusco.

And for the tahcheen, Deravian says it can be made on the stovetop or in the oven. However, she prefers baking it in the oven because it can all be assembled ahead of time and simply slipped into the oven. Use an oven-safe 9 x 13 x 2-inch clear glass casserole dish if possible. The glass dish allows you to spy on the tahdig and check on its progress.

Excerpted BOTTOM OF THE POT: Persian Recipes and Stories by Naz Deravian. Copyright © 2018 by Naz Deravian. Reprinted with permission from Flatiron Books. All rights reserved. Photography by Eric Wolfinger.