QUESTION: I’ve eaten a dish at Persian restaurants that seems to be basically a thin, crunchy cake of fried white rice with a delicious green stew on top. What is this dish, and where can I find it on the west side of town?
ANSWER: The dish you are describing is probably tah dig, which means something like “bottom of the pot” — the oily, seasoned, golden crust that forms at the base of the pan when rice is cooked in the Iranian fashion, and is often served by itself as an appetizer, smeared with a khoresh, or stew, in local Iranian restaurants. And the stew you mention is probably karafs, a terrific mash of celery cooked down with mint and turmeric, among other things. You’ll find a pretty good version at Shamshiri Grill, a well-mannered restaurant on Westwood’s Iranian restaurant row. And if you’re really into the crunchy rice thing, you may love the tah chin, a sort of festive chicken-stuffed rice dome that is Shamshiri’s Wednesday special. Shamshiri Grill, 1712 Westwood Blvd., Westwood, (310) 474-1410.