Rice is one of the most popular dishes in the Persian region/Iran. Rice is cooked in so many different ways with the local ingredients like saffron, dry fruits, berries etc. Generally, basmati or sell rice is used by Iranians. I love the Persian rice dishes that are so flavorful and slightly sweet in taste. They are always served with some meat dishes.
Today I am sharing Persian polow which I made like famous zereshk polow or barberry polow. As I don’t have zereshk or barberry in my place, I used some dry cranberries and sultanas to make the rice. Barberry is a local berry from Iran which tastes sweet with a little tartness. Cranberries also have a similar taste like barberries and hence I made this polow with cranberries. The result was awesome.
I served the polow with chicken that I cooked with some basic Arabian spices and saffron. Chichen is cooked in spices and saffron and then pan-fried with little olive oil. A delicious tomato sauce cooked in chicken stock is also served with the dish which really enhances the taste of the complete dish.
- Preparation time: 20 min
- Cooking time: 80 min
- Serves: 5
- Difficulty level: medium
For saffron water
- 2 teaspoon Saffron
- 1 teaspoon Sugar
- 1/4th cup of boiling Water
For the Polow/Rice
- 3 cup Basmati rice(washed and soak for an hour)
- 4 litre of Water
- 1 tablespoon Salt
- 1/2 of a Lemon juice
- 1/2 cup of cooked rice water (rice stock)
- 1 tablespoon Ghee
For the Berry mixture
- 1/3rd cup dry Cranberries
- 1/3rd cup black Raisins (Sultanas)
- 2 tablespoon Butter/Ghee
- 1 tablespoon Sugar
- 2 tablespoon crushed Pistachios
For the saffron Chicken curry
- 5 pieces of Chicken Thighs along with leg pieces
- 1 tablespoon light Soya sauce
- 2 tablespoon of Butter
- 1 tablespoon of Olive oil
- 1 large Onion chopped
- 1 tablespoon Ginger-Garlic paste
- 2 large Tomatoes (roughly chopped)
- 1 tablespoon Tomato paste
- 2 teaspoon Paprika or Kashmiri red Chilli powder
- 1 tablespoon mix Arabic spice powder or Curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Garam masala powder
- 1 tablespoon Salt
- 3 tablespoon prepared Saffron water
Making the saffron water
Take 2 teaspoon of saffron thread and 1 teaspoon of sugar in a small mortal and pestle. Grind to make powder.
Place the mixture in a small pot and soak with 1/4th cup of boiling water. Cover the pot and keep it aside to release flavour.
Making the Chicken curry
Take 5 pieces of chicken thighs.
In a broad saucepan take 1 litre of water and 1 tablespoon of salt. Place in the stove top with high heat along with the chicken pieces.Chicken should submerged in water.
Bring to boiling point. Turn off the heat and drain the water. Don’t allow to boil the chicken.
Marinade the poached chicken pieces with 1 tablespoon of light soya sauce and 1 teaspoon of kashmiri red chili powder.
Heat 2 tablespoon of butter in a non stick pan.
Pan fry both sides of the the chicken pieces to golden brown.It will take 4-5 minutes to fry the chicken pieces.
Transfer the fried pieces to a dish.
In the same pan add in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and then add in 1 large chopped onions.
Saute till onions become transulent. Then add in 1 tablespoon of ginger garlic paste.
Stir and cook for a minute and then add in 1 tablespoon of tomato paste.
Saute for more a minute and then add in spices like salt, Arabic mix spices, Kashmiri red chilli powder and garam masala powder.
Blend tomato pieces in a blender and add into the spices.
Mix well. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add in 2 cups of hot water, bring to boil and then add in chicken pieces.
Also add in 2 tablespoon of saffron water. Cover and cook in medium heat until chicken becomes tender.
My saffron chicken curry is ready now.
Making the rice
Wash and soak basmati rice for an hour.
Boil 4 litre of water with 1 tablespoon of salt and half of a lemon juice.
Drain water from soaked rice and add in to the boiling salt water. Cook in high heat until the rice is 70% cooked.
Drain the rice in a colander. Keep 1/2 cup of rice water aside. Heat a heavy-bottomed saucepan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Place the cooked and drained rice to the saucepan.
Sprinkle 1/2 cup of rice water or rice stalk.
Poke the rice 2-3 times so that steam releases. I also add 1 teaspoon of saffron water to the rice.
Cover the lid of the saucepan with a muslin cloth and then cover the rice. Cook for about 10-12 minutes in low heat.
Steam rice is now ready. Fluff with a fork so that rice won’t be stick together.
Making the berry mixture
Take equal portion of dry cranberries and sultanas.
Heat 2 tablespoon of butter in a pan and add in the fruits.
Add in 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1 tablespoon of saffron water and mix well.
Cook until sugar dissolves completely. Remove from heat. Also, add some crushed pistachios. The mixture will be a little sticky.
Take 1 serving portion of the steamed rice to a dish.
Add 2 tablespoon of the prepared berry mixture to the rice. Mix lightly with a fork.
Transfer the berry polow to the serving dish. Place a chicken piece from the curry to the dish. Serve the dish accompanied by the tomato saffron sauce from the curry. Enjoy the exotic dish!