Barberry Rice with Lemon Chicken (Zereshk Polo ba Morgh)

I decided to try a change of pace for this year’s Persian New Year.  Instead of our typical Sabzi Polo ba Mahi (fish with herbed rice), I decided to make barberry rice with chicken.

I like citrus-sy chicken, so I chose to do a lemon chicken.  The beautiful color comes from saffron and tomato in the sauce.

Barberries, or zereshk as they are called in farsi, look like currants, but have a strong, sour flavor, not sweet at all. They are typically cooked with sugar before being added to the rice.

I made my rice in my new persian rice cooker, but have included the conventional method of cooking the rice.  If you have a rice cooker (or better yet, a persian rice cooker), simply follow the directions on the rice cooker for about 3 cups of raw rice.  Be sure to rinse the rice until the rinse water runs clear.

Barberry Rice with Lemon Chicken

Barberry Rice

1 cup barberries

1 Tbsp vegetable oil or butter/margarine

1 tsp sugar

1/8 tsp saffron threads, ground and dissolved in 1 Tbsp hot water

3 cups basmati rice

Kosher salt

1 Tbsp oil

2 Tbsp water

Lemon Chicken

4 chicken breasts, boneless

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp advieh

1 tsp Kosher salt

1 Tbsp tomato paste

1 cup chicken stock

1/8 tsp saffron threads, ground and dissolved in 1 Tbsp hot water

Juice of 1/2 lemon



Soak the barberries in water for about 15 minutes, drain, pat dry with a dishtowel or paper towels.

Heat the oil/butter/margarine in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the barberries and sugar.  Remove from heat and mix in the prepared saffron.  Set aside.

Rice (Conventional Approach)

Wash the rice, rinse and drain about three times until the water runs clear.

Place the rice in a filled with salted water.  Bring to a boil. Just as it comes to a boil, check the rice it should be al dente, remove from heat and drain the rice in a colander.  Rinse under cold water.

Put the oil and water in the pot. Return the rice to the pot and sprinkle with another teaspoon or so of water. Cover with a padded lid or a clean dishtowel and then the pot lid. Heat over medium high heat for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to low and cook for 35 – 40 minutes.

Lemon Chicken

Meanwhile, In a large covered skillet, brown the onion and garlic in the oil over medium high heat.

Add the chicken breast and brown on each side, about 5 – 7 minutes per side.

Add the turmeric, advieh, salt and tomato paste. Stir to coat the chicken.

Add the chicken stock and lemon juice, cover and cook over low heat for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

To Serve:

Place rice in a large serving dish, sprinkle the barberries over the top.  Break up the Tah Dig – the crisp layer of rice at the bottom of the pot – and place on the serving dish.  Place the chicken in a serving dish and cover with some of the sauce. Enjoy!

Serves 4.




One Comment Add yours

  1. chefceaser says:

    Reblogged this on Chef Ceaser and commented:
    Use Kosher Chicken


Let me know what you think of this post, and if you try the recipe, please let me know how it was and any suggestions you have. Thanks, Andrea

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