Exquisite Zereshk Polo ba Morgh: Persian Barberry Rice with Chicken


Dive into the heart of Persian cuisine with Zereshk Polo ba Morgh, a delightful combination of tender chicken and fragrant barberry rice. This dish is a symphony of flavors, balancing the tartness of barberries with the aromatic warmth of saffron and the savory richness of perfectly cooked chicken. Whether for a special occasion or a comforting meal at home, Zereshk Polo ba Morgh promises a culinary experience that's both exotic and deeply satisfying.

Exquisite Zereshk Polo ba Morgh: Persian Barberry Rice with Chicken

Preparation and Cooking Times

  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes


  • Servings: 6
  • Serving Size: 1 plate (approximately 350g)

Nutritional Information (per serving)

  • Calories: 450 kcal
  • Protein: 25g
  • Carbohydrates: 60g
  • Fat: 12g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Sugar: 5g
  • Sodium: 600mg


  • For the Chicken:
    • 6 chicken thighs (with skin and bone)
    • 2 large onions, finely chopped
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 cup tomato paste
    • 1 teaspoon turmeric
    • 1 teaspoon ground saffron, dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 2 cups chicken broth or water
  • For the Rice:
    • 3 cups basmati rice
    • 1 cup dried barberries (zereshk)
    • 4 tablespoons butter
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon ground saffron, dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water
    • Salt to taste

Method of Preparation

Prepare the Chicken:

  1. In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and sauté until golden brown.
  2. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  3. Stir in the turmeric, salt, and pepper. Add the chicken thighs and brown on all sides.
  4. Add the tomato paste and mix well, cooking for 2-3 minutes until it starts to caramelize.
  5. Pour in the chicken broth or water, cover, and let it simmer for 45 minutes until the chicken is tender.
  6. Stir in the saffron water and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

Prepare the Rice:

  1. Rinse the basmati rice under cold water until the water runs clear.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the rice and cook for 5-7 minutes until the rice is slightly soft. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the barberries and sugar, and sauté for 2-3 minutes until the barberries are plump and shiny.
  4. In a large pot, layer half of the partially cooked rice. Sprinkle half of the saffron water over it, then layer the barberries and remaining rice on top.
  5. Drizzle the remaining saffron water and melted butter over the rice.
  6. Cover the pot with a lid wrapped in a clean towel and steam the rice on low heat for 30 minutes until fully cooked.

Assemble the Dish:

  1. Fluff the rice and barberries with a fork.
  2. Serve the barberry rice on a platter and top with the tender chicken pieces.
  3. Garnish with additional barberries and a drizzle of saffron water if desired.

Tips for Culinary Success

  • Soak the barberries in cold water for 10 minutes to remove any bitterness before cooking.
  • Use high-quality saffron for the best flavor and color.
  • Adjust the sugar amount in the barberries according to your taste preference.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can I use chicken breasts instead of thighs?

  • A: Yes, you can use chicken breasts, but thighs provide a richer flavor and are more tender.

Q: Can I make this dish vegetarian?

  • A: Yes, you can substitute the chicken with roasted vegetables or a plant-based protein like tofu.

Q: Where can I find barberries?

  • A: Barberries can be found in Middle Eastern grocery stores or online.

Indulge in the exquisite flavors of Persia with Zereshk Polo ba Morgh. Each bite is a journey through a rich culinary heritage, where the tartness of barberries dances with the warmth of saffron and the succulence of chicken. Whether you're new to Persian cuisine or a seasoned aficionado, this dish is sure to become a cherished favorite.