Persian Chicken & Rice Recipe
This dish is inspired by traditional Morgh polou of Iran and is commonly known as Persian chicken & rice. Basmati and saffron are used in Morgh polou for aroma and color. Serve this exotic & delicious chicken rice at special dinners.
- Servings: 4
- Preparation time: 20 minutes
- Cooking time: 1 hour
- 1 (2 pounds) whole chicken (cut into medium pieces)
- 1 medium sized onion (chopped)
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 cup uncooked basmati rice
- Salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon saffron (crushed)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ cup barberries
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic
- ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
Rinse chicken under cold water; use paper towels to dry off the excess; season generously with salt and black pepper.
In a medium bowl soak ½ cup of barberries with enough water to cover them completely; after 5 minutes of soaking drain the water and rinse the barberries with fresh water once; transfer to a colander; shake off the excess and set aside.
Heat half of the olive oil in a roasting pan over medium heat; sauté chopped onions and garlic for 2 minutes until fragrant; sprinkle ½ teaspoon of turmeric and ¾ teaspoon ground cumin over onions; stir to combine; put seasoned chicken pieces in the pan over onions; pour 1 cup of water and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice over chicken; cover the pan with a lid; cook for 25-30 minutes until chicken is soft. Off the heat when it’s done; set aside.
In the mean time take 4 cups of water in a large bowl; soak 2 cups of basmati rice in it for 20 minutes;
Boil 3 cups of water with salt in a large skillet over medium to high heat; after 20 minutes of soaking scoop out the rice from the water and put in the boiling water; cook for 9-10 minutes until rice is soft but not completely cooked; do not stir the rice as it breaks the rice grains; off the heat; drain the water through a colander; let the rice cool down to room temperature.
In a sauce pan melt 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter with 1 tablespoon of sugar over medium heat; add soaked barberries to the butter mixture; stir to combine the ingredients; cook until barberries plumped up a bit by absorbing butter mixture. Off the heat when done; set aside.
Add saffron and ¼ cup of water (hot water is preferred) to a small bowl; stir with a spoon until water changes color.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Take a large oven proof pot; drizzle remaining olive oil in the pot; pour 1/3 of the saffron water in the pot; add a layer of rice to the pot; spread it at the bottom; add half of cooked barberries as a layer over the rice; adjust it; now add chicken from the roasting pan as another layer; spread it evenly; repeat the procedure for another layer of the rice (do not forget to pour second portion of the saffron water over the rice) , barberries and chicken; finally cover the chicken with remaining rice and pour remaining saffron water on the top; cover with a lid tightly; put it in the oven; bake for 20-25 minutes;
Take the pot out when it’s ready; fill the serving platters with rice; serve hot;
Notes & Tips:
- Cut small pieces instead of medium ones to decrease the cooking time.
- If you cannot find barberries use dried cranberries or dried sour cherries.
- Garnish with roasted cashew to make it more exciting.
- You can use selected parts instead of whole chicken for the recipe.
- Canola or vegetables oil can be used in the place of olive oil.