Kateh (Persian Rice – The Easy Way)

Create Persian rice with Tahdig using a simple one-step cooking process. An easy skill to master before you move to cooking Persian rice the expert way!

What is Kateh?

Kateh is a rice dish, originating from the Caspian region of Iran. This rice dish is Iran’s version of sticky rice and is cooked by letting the water evaporate in the saucepan. The rice then steams until it is cooked and creates a crispy outer layer of rice called Tahdig. 

It is the quick method and is usually cooked in homes during the week and for casual family meals. For dinner parties, Iranians usually cook rice by boiling, draining the cooking liquid and then steaming the rice. We call this rice dish Chelow.

Kateh is a great introduction to mastering the art of cooking rice like Iranians. Once you have this skill under your belt, learning the more complicated technique (Chelow) will be less daunting.

The bonus of the simple way of cooking Persian rice is that you can still get the crispy Tahdig! 

What is Tahdig?

Tahdig translated into English means ‘bottom of the pot.’ Iranians cook their rice for longer than most cultures in order to create a crispy layer of rice, which is everyone’s favourite part of the meal. 

Tahdig can come in many forms from rice, to potato, pasta, bread and even lettuce! You can only make rice Tahdig using the Kateh method because you do not drain the rice and it continues to cook in the pan. If you want to make potato Tahdig or other types of Tahdig, then use the Chelow method.

What You Need to Cook Kateh

  • The Rice: Use long grain basmati white rice, which you can buy from most local supermarkets and Middle-Eastern or Asian food shops ranging from 500 gram to 10 kilogram bags. I use Tilda Basmati Rice, which can be found in most supermarkets in the UK. Basmati creates perfect, aromatic and tender grains when cooked.
  • Measuring Cup: The best way to master cooking rice the Persian way is to have a trusted cup measurement and understand the portions it yields. I use the measuring cup (standard UK measuring cup – 250 ml), which holds approximately 200 grams of rice. Each cup holds approximately 2 portions of rice. The reason I refer to mastering cup measurements is because of the corresponding water measurement. For every cup of rice, you add 1.5 cups of water  – see table below.
  • Non-Stick Saucepan: Use a non-stick saucepan with a lid. For 2 cups of rice, use a 20 cm diameter saucepan with 2.5 litre capacity. Using a non-stick pan allows you to flip the rice out so you can serve the Kateh as in the picture above.
  • Water or Stock: The cooking liquid to cook the rice. The amount of water you use is important. Too much and your rice will be mushy and the tahdig won’t form. Too little and the rice will be undercooked. See my guide below to help with measurements.
  • Salt: Season generously as rice is very bland without a good pinch of salt.
  • Butter or Oil: Needed to flavour the rice, helps create tender grains and to crisp the Tahdig.

Kateh Cooking Guide

Consult this guide to help you with the measurements for cooking Kateh.

ServesCups of RiceCups of WaterOil/ButterSalt
211.51 Tbsp0.5 - 1 tsp
4232 Tbsp1 - 2 tsp
8464 Tbsp2 - 4 tsp

Understanding your Stove

In order to master the art of Persian rice you have to learn how your stove works, whether it is a ceramic, induction or gas hob. 

The lowest setting on ceramic, induction and other solid plate type cookers tends to produce a lower temperature than the equivalent on a gas hob. Therefore to go to the lowest heat may result in your rice not being cooked within the specified time below. Don’t worry – just leave it on for longer and the next time go up a notch and a further one if needed until you master the right temp and time for your Kateh.

Serve Kateh With…

You can use the Kateh rice method for any rice dish you want from pilau rice to just a plain white sticky rice with fried eggs or Chicken Katsu Curry. 

How to Store Kateh

Kateh can be stored in the fridge up to 5 days in an air tight container. Always cool hot food before storing in fridge.

Check out these recipes to serve Kateh with…


Persian rice cooked the easy way
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 5 minutes
Course: Side Dish, Rice Dish, Accompaniment
Cuisine: Persian, Iranian
Keyword: vegetarian, vegan option
Servings: 4 (to 6)
Author: Mersedeh Prewer


  • 2 cups white long grain basmati rice (approximately 400g of rice)
  • 3 cups water or stock
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp butter / ghee / vegetable oil


  • Gently wash rice in cold water until water runs clear. Place in a bowl and fill with cold water to 2 inches above the rice. Let rice soak for a minimum of 30 mins (preferably overnight).
  • Drain and put rice in saucepan. Add water and salt.
  • Place saucepan over high heat until water starts to boil. Once water comes up to boil, turn heat to medium and add butter and stir gently to mix. 
  • Once you start to see holes in the rice as the water is evaporating, reduce heat to low. Take a clean tea towel and wrap the lid of the saucepan, making sure it is not a fire hazard. Place lid on saucepan. Cook rice for a minimum of 30 mins. The longer you leave it, the better the tahdig.
  • Once you have come to the end of the cooking time turn off heat and take a plate bigger than your saucepan, and place it over the top of the saucepan. Flip the saucepan, while holding the plate, and your rice should come out as a nice looking rice cake in the shape of your pan with crispy tahdig encasing it.
  • Serve with your choice of stew, curry or kababs.


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