Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Persian Saffron Chicken {Zereshk Polo Ba Morgh}

An authentic recipe for Persian Saffron Chicken with Barberry Rice! This is such an amazing combo of flavors and spices!

Back when we lived in Berlin, you may recall, we had LOTS of Persian friends. They were all Christian refugees from Iran and Afghanistan that we met at our church there, which was packed to the brim every Sunday. 

Usually after church, there would be huge meal that some of the Persians would make, and we would squeeze through the door with the crowd, mouths watering and fingers crossed that it would be "the chicken with the red sauce". 

Three years later, after a million times getting different vague directions on how to make it form our friends, lots of research, and tons of taste testing, I finally have cracked it. 

It turns out that it is not, in fact, called "the chicken with the red sauce", but "Zereshk Polo Ba Morgh", which translates simply to "Barberry Rice with Chicken". 

Basically it's chicken simmered in a sauce of saffron and a unique blend of spices, piled on a huge plate of saffron rice which is flecked with tiny, tart dried "barberries" (which you can get on Amazon). I love serving "shirazi salad" on the side (which is just chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, fresh mint, and lemon juice) and, if he has time, Samuel always makes some flatbread to wipe up that last bit of sauce from his plate.

The basamati rice is so aromatic and wonderful and the saffron and barberries really make it amazing. The meat is tender and about to fall off the bone. The sauce is rich and flavorful. The shirazi salad is crisp and fresh. This is the perfect meal. 
To complete this meal, try making my Persian Saffron and Rose Water Ice Cream (called Bastani) for dessert! 

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  1. Thank you for the recipe, it was delicious and the aromas in my kitchen brought me back to the first Persian restaurant I ever went to that got me hooked to new flavours I'd never experienced before. I used boneless chicken so I added less broth and didn't have to cook as long to get the sauce to thicken. This is definitely going into my book of cherished recipes.

  2. Saffron water with one ice cube got to do double duty? Can that be right?

  3. Can this recipe be done in a crockpot

    1. I made this in a crockpot recently. I would recommend using less chicken broth so that the sauce thickens up a bit.

  4. This recipe is so incredibly full of flavor.. I will be sharing this with everyone I know