Tourist & Resident Guide to Iran

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Persian Berry Rice

Zereshk Pulo Murgh or Persian Berry Rice is a main course item that one can rustle up with ease while adding that traditional Persian touch to a meal. Here is how simple this dish really is.

Ingredients (To Serve 4-5)

3 cups rice - washed and soaked in water
2-3 chicken breasts (cut in to large chunks)
1 medium onion finely chopped
Saffron strands soaked in warm milk
sugar (3-4 spoonfuls)
1 cup zereshk (berberris)
Salt/pepper to taste
Half teaspoon turmeric

Cooking Directions

Sauté onions in a pan until tender and translucent, add in the chicken pieces. Stir the pieces around for a minute or so and then add salt, pepper and turmeric powder. Add one cup of water and cover the pan to let the chicken cook. Set the temperature on medium to low and allow it cook for 30-45 minutes.

Once the chicken is cooked you can retain 1/2 cup of the chicken stock (after straining it) in case you would like to pour it over the rice later.

In a large pot bring water to a boil, and then add rice. Be sure to drain the water in which you have soaked the rice before you add the rice to the boiling water. Once the rice boils drain it and set it aside. Add about half a cup to one cup water to the pot with oil or butter. Put the pot back on the stove and leave it on high temperature. Pour the rice into the pot.

At this point it is a matter of personal choice whether you want to add the chicken pieces in the pot between two layers of the rice. You can also make the chicken separate from the rice for Zereshk Polo. In case you chose to save chicken stock earlier you can pour it over the rice now. However, if you want to keep your Zereshk Polo closer to a white color and not a yellow then don’t pour saffron into your chicken stock.
Once this is done cover the lid of the pot with a towel and place it over the pot. When steam starts escaping from the sides of the pot you can lower the temperature and allow the rice to cook for 40 minutes to 1 hour.

Clean the zereshk (barberries) and wash them. Place them in a small pot and set the temperature to medium. Add some oil to the zereshk (barberries) and add a little liquid saffron and some sugar into the pot and mix. Do not overcook the berries.

Serving Directions: When you are ready to serve the rice put half the rice on a serving platter and mix 2/3 of the rest of the rice with 2/3 of the barberries and pour on top of the rice. Add saffron to the rest of the rice and the remaining barberries and spread onto the top of the platter. Place the chicken around the platter or keep in a separate platter.

Mariam Noronha

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