Barberry Rice with Chicken Tomato Stew
Golden saffron and bright red barberries turns the rice into a beautiful work of art! Barberries, or Zereshk, have tart flavor with a hint of sweetness so they work wonderfully with meaty stews or other chicken, beef, and lamb dishes. If you can't get barberries, try using dried cranberries or raisins soaked in lemon juice instead, or just make plain saffron rice to accompany the stewed chicken.
Background: Barberry rice is a common dish to make at home in Iran, but every family has their own way to cook it!
- - RICE -
- Rice, preferably Indo-Pakistani or Thai (2 cups)
- Saffron (about 2 pinches)
- Dried barberries (70-100 g)
- Sugar (1 spoonful, more or less to adjust to preferred sweetness)
- Lemon juice (A little - add extra if you like the tartness )
- - STEW -
- Chicken, lamb or beef (400 - 500 g | 1 pound)
- Onion (1/4)
- Celery, optional (1 stalk)
- Green pepper, optional (1 )
- Tomato puree (2-3 Tbsp)
- Turmeric (1 tsp)
- Salt & pepper
Plan for the rice to be done arond the same time as the stew.
Using Indian/Pakistani or Thai rice will give you the most authentic flavor. In this case, add about 1 Tbsp of oil or butter and a bit of salt to the rice, then cook it as directed or as you normally would in the rice cooker.
If using short grained rice like Japanese rice, I recommend this method:
Wash the rice and then soak it in water for 30 min. Drain well. Heat some oil in a frying pan and saute the rice until it has soaked up most of the oil and starts to turn translucent. Cook as directed or in your rice cooker as usual!
Wash the barberries and remove any dirt, etc. Let them soak in water for a few minutes, then drain.
Heat some oil in a frying pan and briefly saute the barberries. They burn easily so be careful!
Grind or break the saffron into smaller pieces. Add to a small pot with 2 Tbsp water and splash of lemon juice. Simmer on low heat for 5 minutes and set aside.
Once the rice has finished cooking, mix about a quarter of it with the saffron water and the barberries.
Put the white rice onto a large plate or bowl and top with the golden barberry rice.
In a pressure cooker or large pot, fry 1/4 of an onion until caramelized an golden. (See this recipe on how to make Iranian caramelized onions: http://cookmap.com/en/recipes/how-to-make-piaz-dagh-iranian-fried-onions)
Cut the meat into smaller pieces and add to the pot with the onions. Cook until lightly browned.
Add salt, turmeric, 1 cup water, and some tomato puree to the pot. (Note: you can substitute puree and water for a can of whole tomatoes instead).
If you like, add chopped green bell pepper and/or celery to the pot. It adds extra flavor :)
Cover with lid and once it starts to boils, cook on low for 30-40 minutes. If using tougher meat or bigger pieces, cook for 50-60 minutes or until tender.
Remove the lid and let continue cooking on high heat until the stew thickens up.
Serve stew along with the barberry rice. Enjoy!
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