Monday, 1 November 2010

Tried & Tested: Persian Chicken with Saffron and Barberries (Zereshk Polo)

Small picture top: barberries, small left: saffron

My mother-in-law has over the years taught me most of what I know about Persian cooking and I am so lucky when she comes to stay because she just "takes over the kitchen" and magics all sorts of lovely dishes.

I love home cooked Persian food! It is not hot and spicy like Indian food - it has much more in common with Turkish food with use of lots of herbs and vegetables. Most Iranians believe their cuisine is the best in the world!
The only problem is that many of the traditional dishes take a long time to prepare and in a busy life there just isn't time to spend hours in the kitchen.

Our Boy's favourite dish is a rather simple and not so time consuming dish which I served my friends on Thursday:

For 4 people with very large appetities:

8 chicken breasts
3 chopped up onions
2 finely chopped up gloves of garlic
1/2-1 l chicken- or vegetable stock

A knob of butter
Dried barberry berries (norsk: berberis)

- can normally be found in ethnic shops
a little sugar
a pinch of salt 

A good pinch of saffron
Hot water

Cut the chicken breasts in three and
sautee them with the chopped onions and garlic.
When the chicken has been browned add it to a deeper pan and pour the stock over - just so it almost covers the chicken
(no need to drown it - it is not a soup!).

Rinse and soak the barberry berries and drain.
In a separate pan, melt some butter (not too high heat) and
add the rinsed berries with the sugar and salt.
Let it sautee gently for a minute or so.

Put some hot water in a glass and add the saffron to let it color the water - you get more flavour this way out of the precious strands. Let it sit for some minutes.

I prefer to add most of the sauteed berries to the chicken along with the saffron with its water and let it all simmer for at least 30 mins. I think most Iranians would however, pour the sauteed berries over the rice.

Serve with rice
(preferably decorated with some more saffron diluted in hot water
and some barberries saved after sauteeing).
I always use Basmati rice cooked light and fluffy
- not sticky and clumpy like Chinese style rice.

I would normally serve a salad with this, but as you see from the picture, broccoli was used this time



  1. Så spennende! Tror jeg faktisk aldri har smakt iransk mat....det er en skam. ☺

  2. Thanks for the recipe Mette! I have lots of barberries in the freezer from Martin's colleague's wife a couple of years ago ... now I have a new recipe for them!

  3. Høres nydelig ut. Har ikke prøvd noe lignende, men nå er den notert. Takk for at du deler! :o)

    I helgen lagde Mr. Sunhome nydelig indisk mat, selvfølgelig fra bunnen av. Det luktet himmelsk i flere timer før vi endelig kunne innta maten. I hverdagen er det jeg som står for middagen, da han har sene dager på kontoret, men i helgene lager vi alltid mat sammen. Koser oss med vin og skravling ved grytene. :o)

    Ønsker deg en glad dag, Mette!

    Klem sendes over havet til deg :o)


  4. Å, nei, Mette! Tenk om det blir rullegardin med blå himmel og skyer OG tavle! Orker ikke tenke på det en gang...

    Oppskriften så deilig ut! Har faktisk smakt persisk mat en gang - og det var innmari godt!

    Ha en fin dag!