Saturday, October 23, 2010

Zereshk polo.. Barberry pilaf

This pilaf looks really elegant and mouth watering,  t is served in most ceremonies either  wedding parties , funerals  or family gatherings, I like barberry   a lot, it s grown in  northeast of Iran  in  southern Khorasan  province, the land of saffron and barberry...Iranian barberry is seedless and the best in the world  therefore it s the best choice to dry and use it for  cooking as an additive. 
servings:  4 


 3 cups  long grain  rice 
2 table spoons butter....3 table spoons  vegetable oil
1 cup dried barberry
2 table spoons grated orange zest
500-750 gr  chicken .or.. u can use legs and chicken breast..I usually  halve chicken breast.. for example 2 legs and  2 halved chicken breasts.
1 large onion peeled, sliced in circles, 
2 table spoons  orange zest
ground black pepper and salt
2 table spoons  pistachio flakes
  1 tea spoon      saffron
2 table spoon tomato paste 
a pinch of cinnamon 
1 or 2 table spoons  lime juice ....based on your own taste if  you like sour taste or semi sour)

if you are using Iranian long grain rice.. .soak it at least  2-4 hours AHEAD.  .. 4 hours timing or even more  is very  ideal... for any type of rice:  first wash it by running warm water  until  draining water becomes clear , after washing   rice , soak it in  a bowl of salty water..for Iranian rice  add 3 tablespoons  of salt to the water and let it soak for  2-4 hours ... using less salt for soaking Basmati rice would have a better result...(soaking time for Basmati rice: 1 hour  
1- In a heavy sauce pan or pot  bring  9 cups of water to a boil , drain the soaked rice  and add  it to the boiling water... reduce the heat to the medium heat to stop boiling ...

 you can add a table spoon of white vinegar to the boiling water , this will preserve the white and pearly color of the rice.

drain the rice after 7 mins( for basmati ) 4 mins for iranian rice.....this part is very important  because you should watch the rice carefully to not
over cook it, the rice grains should be  half cooked or barely cooked NOT FULLY cooked. try one or two grains to see if it is ready.

try and test the rice to see if it is salty or not, if it s salty stream water over the drained rice , don't rinse rice thoroughly...just that  much to dissolve the extra salt
rinse the sauce pan or pot  you  parboiled rice,add 1 table spoon of canola oil or butter in the pan and arrange the already  peeled and sliced potatoes on the bottom of the pot,
then  place  the parboiled rice over the potato slices....mound it  to form a pyramid...and  pour1 table spoon melted butter  plus 1 or 2 table spoons vegetable oil. over the rice. wrap the pan's lid with a clean towel  and cover the pan with the lid to absorb  steam.

2-while the rice is cooking  prepare  chicken can cook chicken in  the oven  or in a pan over the  medium heat ...add chicken, 1 table spoon oil of your own choice  it can be olive oil ,canola oil , grape seed oil or even butter.. sliced  onions,  a pinch of salt, black pepper  , cinnamon  .. to make a tomato paste sauce :   dissolve  saffron powder in small cup of  boiling water , cover the  cup with a suitable lid  and set it aside, then dissolve  2 table spoons of tomato paste in a cup of water, add lime juice and 1 table spoon of prepared saffron  to the sauce.. pour the sauce over the chicken,  cover the pan with  aluminum foil and cook it in the oven until chicken is cooked through......

3- wash  dried barberries, heat a table spoon of  veg oil or  butter over medium heat in a  suitable frying pan , add dried barberries plus  one table spoon of finely ground white sugar and pistachio flakes   in to a pan,  stir-fry  for about 2 mins only , 

4- in a small sauce pan bring water to a boil...add orange zest to the boiling water . reduce the heat  and let it simmer for 2 or 3 mins ..drain them  and repeat the procedure again until orange zests taste sweet  ... this will  sweeten the zest...I prefer to stir fry them too for a min.  as well.

when ready to serve, take 2 spatulas full of rice and gently fold  in  prepared barberries , pistachio flakes and  saffron  

 place a layer of white  rice on the large serving platter, and spread the mixture of  barberry and saffroned  rice over the white rice ..finally sprinkle orange zests over the rice.... then  serve it with chicken .... enjoy!

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