Zereshk is Persian name for dried fruit of barberries. Zeresk is widely cultivated in Iran. It is used in medicines, for preparing jam, tea, syrup, salad, juice and cooking rice or stew.
Zereshk polo is an Iranian classic and ceremonial dish, made with mixed rice with barberries ( zereshk) and chicken(morgh) in tomato/saffron sauce. This sauce gives wonderful colour to the morgh.
This dish is incredibly tasty, full of flavour and beautiful colour.
Ingredients for polo (rice)
4 cups rice
1 cup zereshk (Barberries), washed
2 Tbsp sugar
½ onion, very finely diced
1-2 potatoes, finely sliced
1 flat bread
30 g butter
1 Tbsp Persian saffron water ( I know Saffron is expensive, so if you would like reduce amount of saffron, that is fine, however, saffron gives lots of flavour and lovely colour to the meal)
Ingredients for morgh (chicken)
6 pieces of boneless, skinless chicken breast/thighs
1 ½ medium onion, finely diced
1 orange juice
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp Saffron water
1 Tsp turmeric
Salt- cayenne pepper to taste
50 g butter
For preparing morgh, first we need to make tomato sauce: melt the butter in a skillet, add tomato paste and saute for 2 minutes, then add squeezed orange juice and saffron water to the tomato and for 1 minute more. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a pan, add diced onions, turmeric, salt and cayenne pepper and saute for 5 minutes. Then, add chicken pieces and let to fry over a medium heat for 10 minutes. Then pour 3 cups of water over the chicken, add tomato sauce and let to cook for 1 hour, stir 1-2 times occasionally.
For making rice: wash the rice then in a bowl dissolve 2 Tbsp salt in 4 cups of cold water and let soak rice for 30 minutes.
Bring the water to a boil, drain salty water of rice and let rice cook for 10 minutes. Then place the par cooked rice in a colander and rinse with tapped water.
Pour some oil in the pot and place thinly sliced potatoes or flat bread in the bottom of pot. Then pour par cooked rice top of the potatoes. Cover the pot and let the rice cook over medium to low heat.
Meanwhile, fry ½ diced onion in a skillet until golden brown. Set aside.
Melt butter In the same skillet, add washed barberries , saffron water and sugar. Saute over low heat for couple of minutes. Then add fried onion, mix together and set aside.
Once rice is ready, transfer it to a platter, garnish with saffron rice, and top with fried barberries and chicken. And from bottom of the rice you will take fried potatoes or bread ( tah dig) which is speciality of Persian cuisine.
Enjoy this beautiful dish.
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