Introducing Persian Chicken! The chicken portion of the recipe is fast and easy –made with an Arabic spice blend, called Baharat, that can be whipped up in minutes.
The word “Baharat” simply means “spices” in Arabic, and this wonderfully complex blend has a unique balance of flavors. The chicken is rubbed down with salt and Baharat Spice, seared on the stove and finished in the oven until golden and crispy. Serve with saffron rice, cucumber yogurt sauce and salad and you’ll have a simple, delicious, Middle Eastern style dinner.
Baharat is often used in Arabic cooking- most commonly in Persian and Turkish dishes to add spice and a little heat to meat dishes, couscous, and tagines. The warm exotic flavors of Baharat are an easy way to spice up simple dishes and give them a little intrigue.
If you don’t have whole seeds, but have the ground spice, it’s perfectly OK to substitute ground spices, although the more whole seeds you have, the better the flavor. But don’t let the lack of the whole seeds stop you from making this.
To make Chelow, use long grain basmati rice or long-grain Jasmine rice. Do not use short-grain rice. Rinse the rice several times and parboil the rice: cook it like you would pasta, in generously salted boiling water until al dente.
Depending on the rice, this will take 5 -10 minutes. Brown rice takes a bit longer. You want the rice to be almost done. This is key.
While the rice is boiling toast a pinch of saffron for a minute. Place it in a bowl, with 2 T of the boiling salted water. Let is sit and infuse the water.
( You can substitute turmeric for the saffron, if you prefer, and skip toasting it)
Once the rice is par-boiled, strain and rinse again several times until the water runs clear, removing all the starch. Drain. Stir in 1 Cup of the parboiled rice to the yogurt saffron mixture. Set aside.
Turn the heat to medium-high for 2-3 minutes until you see visible puffs of steam. This will be obvious -so wait until you see it. Once you see the puffs of steam, turn heat to medium-low for 25 minutes. Don’t be tempted to remove the lid.
After the timer goes off, place the whole pot in a sink or large bowl filled with very cold water, for one minute, so water is at least 2-3 inches up the sides. This will shock the rice and help it release from the sides.
Hope you enjoy this Persian Feast!