Zereshk Polo ba Morgh (Barberry Rice with Chicken)

Zereshk Polo is one of my FAVORITES!!! And I really mean that! I just love this Zereshk Polo dish.  Good thing its also one of my husbands favorites…except he likes to add loads of sugar to his Zereshk Polo.

Zereshk Polo

Zereshk Polo

Ingredients (for 4-5 people):
1 medium onion
2-3 chicken breasts (or other chicken parts) – cut up into pieces
liquid saffron
sugar (3-4 spoons usually is enough)
3 cups rice – soak in salt water after washing the rice
1 cup zereshk (barberries)

Directions to make Zereshk Polo (ba Morgh):
In a pan, saute onions until tender then add cut up chicken pieces. Stir the pieces around a bit and then add salt, pepper, and turmeric powder. Add 1 cup water and cover the pan for the chicken to cook. Set the temperature on medium- low and let it cook for 30 minutes – 45 minutes. Once cooked you can keep 1/2 cup of the chicken stock (after straining it) if you wish to pour it over the rice.

In a large pot bring water to a boil, and then add rice (after draining the water the rice is soaking in). Guessed right! This is the polo for zereshk polo. Once the rice boils drain it and add about half a cup to one cup water to the pot, oil, and if you choose butter. Set the pot back on the stove and leave it on high temperature. Pour the rice into the pot. If you choose you can also place the chicken pieces in the pot between a two layers of the rice. I typically make the chicken separate from the rice for Zereshk Polo. At this time if you chose to save chicken stock you can pour it over the rice. I usually add a bit more oil to the chicken stock, plus some saffron. Obviously, if you want to keep your Zereshk Polo closer to a white and not a yellow you don’t want to pour saffron into your chicken stock. Once this is done cover the lid of the pot with a towel and place it over the pot. When steam starts escaping from the sides of the pot you can take the temperature down to a low setting. Allow the rice to cook for 40 minutes to 1 hour.

Wash the zereshk (barberries) after cleaning them (make sure there are no stones mixed in). Place them in a small pot and set the temperature to medium. Add some oil to the zereshk (barberries) and add a tad bit of liquid saffron and then pour a couple spoons sugar into the pot and mix. Once they have cooked you can turn the heat to low or turn it off. If you leave it on the stove too long it can be over cooked. I usually make the barberries about 10 minutes before everything is done.

Once you are ready to serve the rice put half the rice on a serving platter then mix 2/3 of the remaining rice with 2/3 of the barberries you cooked and pour on top of the rice on the platter. Then take the remaining rice and add saffron to it and the remaining barberries and decorate onto the top of the platter. Place the chicken around the platter or keep in a separate platter. You can save some barberries to sprinkle on top of the chicken as well.

Note: Some people don’t like the barberries to be too sweet, so if you just add about 3 or so spoonfuls of sugar to them that should be good. Then if anyone desires they can add more sugar to their plate…that’s pretty much what my husband ends up doing to his Zereshk Polo :D

I hope you enjoyed this Zereshk Polo recipe, and please don’t forget to check out my other Persian recipes.

11 wonderful comments and feedbacks from Persian Food lovers

  1. Dear friend,

    Your Zereshkpolo is perfect. you sense of humor is of appreciation.


  2. with great appreciation and well job

  3. very clear and tasty thanks

  4. thanks alot for the recipe i have to make a presentation about this :D you rescured me from alot of research … mer30 mer30

  5. I like how u made it with chicken breast instead of chicken thighs…i was looking for a healthier version with breast and this recipe popped up! :) I havent cooked in sooo long and i needed this refresher course :) thanks so much!

  6. You have no idea how happy and completely excited your blog has made me! (ok, I’m doing a happy dance) My only regret is that I didn’t find it sooner. Thank you a million times from the bottom of my heart! You have made everything very easy to follow! Thank you!

  7. Delicious! I would also add some sliced pistachio to the zereshk and sprinkle a little on the final dish like my mother used to make :). Thank you for your lovely and clear recipe!

  8. whats a “spoon”
    heaping tablepsoon?

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