Zereshk Polo – Iranian Chicken & Rice

This is my absolute favourite Iranian dish, I just love the ruby red barberries, both for their colour and more importantly for their taste. My lovely Iranian friend Parastou introduced me to this dish, and I am so glad that she did!

Every time I would go to her parent’s house, her mum would give me these magical red berries as she knew I loved them so much, and recently she gave me some of my own to take home, so I tried to recreate this wonderful dish myself! (Not quite as amazing as the true Iranian way, but it still tasted mighty fine!)

Have a go for yourself and see what you think!

1 tbsp Oil
1 large Onion – finely chopped
1 medium sized chicken – cut into pieces
1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp Saffron
2 tsp butter
200g barberries
3 tbsp tomato puree
1/2 tsp turmeric
4 cups of long grain rice
half a cup of sugar
handful of sliced almond and pistachios

Firstly chop and then sauté the onions in a pan until they have browned a little.
Then add the chicken pieces and season with salt, pepper and turmeric powder.

You can then add a cup of water and the tomato puree. Put a lid on the pan and allow the chicken to cook.

Whilst this is cooking, it’s time to boil the rice and let this cook (I’m sure we all know how to make rice, so I don’t think I need any more detail into that!)

Soak the barberries in water for 5-10 minutes so they fluff up a little and then melt some butter/oil in a frying pan. Next stir in the barberries and then add some sugar to coat the berries.

When the barberries start to fluff up a bit more you can add 1 tablespoon of saffron water. The berries need about a minute to absorb the water and can then be removed from the heat.

Mix the barberries in the rice and serve with the prepared chicken and a drizzle of lemon juice over the top!