Zereshk Polo Ba Morgh – Barberry Rice with Chicken

Living in Grenoble and having access to delicious French food has been a wonderful experience. However, the lack of ethnic food options has been what I miss most about home. Being from New York has really spoiled me since you have 24 hour access to foods from all over the globe. After a year and a half in France, I went home for Christmas in December and filled my suitcase with Foie Gras, Confit de Canard, homemade Conficture de Figue, and cheese. On the way back, my suitcase was filled with Mexican hot sauce, chipotle peppers in adobe sauce, and a lot of Persian groceries that would help me satisfy my cravings for Persian food.

One of the simplest and most delicious Persian foods is called Zereshk Polo Ba Morgh (Barberry rice with Chicken). The hardest item to find for this recipe is the Zereshk (Barberries). Lucky for me, there is a very large population of Iranians in New York so hard-to-find ingredients are easy to find! I came back to Grenoble with a bag of Zereshk (Barberries) and a package of Saffron. I was well-equipped to make one of my favorite foods- Zereshk Polo Ba Morgh (Barberry Rice with Chicken)!

To give the chicken a nice color, I soaked Saffron threads in hot water for two hours and rubbed it all over the chicken.

I used the saffron to also season a portion of the rice, for decorative purposes, and added the saffron threads and water to the Zereshk (Barberries) when I was cooking them.

I spent some time with my Aunt Akram, in Sydney, and she taught me how to cook a delicious and moist chicken on the stove. It has always been a hit with my dinner guests. I pour a tablespoon or two of olive oil into a pot, layer the pot with sliced onions and tomatoes, add a few bay leaves, salt (pepper, if you like), two tablespoons of water, add the chicken and cover the pot. Keep it on a medium low flame to prevent the onions from burning. You can really cook it as long as you want. The longer you keep it on the stove, the easier the meat will fall off the bone. I have cooked whole chicken like this before and it comes out like a roasted chicken. Except you don’t end up with a nicely roasted layer of skin. You can also fill the sides of the pot with fingerling potatoes and carrots. Whatever you like.

I have always loved cooking Zereshk. Whenever my mother would cook this meal, I would volunteer to make this. You take a saucepan, put it on a low flame, add two teaspoons of butter and then add the washed Zereshk. When the little Zereshk berries start to puff, you need to add a little bit of hot water to it. Next, you add the saffron threads that have you soaking in water. Zereshk is very sour (and is high in vitamin C!) so you need to add a bit of sugar to counterbalance the acidity. You end up with a deliciously sweet and sour sauce that goes great with rice and chicken!


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Categories: Iran


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7 Comments on “Zereshk Polo Ba Morgh – Barberry Rice with Chicken”

  1. Maryse
    June 8, 2012 at 07:26 #

    Merci beaucoup Nina pour m’avoir fait découvrir ce délicieux plat !

  2. Arezou
    December 12, 2012 at 23:10 #

    Hi Nina !! I just discovered your blog and I really like it ! Your article about zeresht polo is so well written. Actually i haven ´t cooked persian food yet so i will try this, with my mum´s help of course !! However, well done with your blog ! I will be one of your big fans :p boos boos khoshgele

    • January 9, 2013 at 18:30 #

      Merci Arezou! I’m glad you liked it! I was so excited about this blog but all the travel and job searching has forced me to put it on the back burner for now. I really can’t wait to post about all of the foods I ate in South East Asia! I hope you are doing great! Gros Bisous!

  3. January 7, 2013 at 18:53 #

    This is my favorite Persian dish! I’ve linked this website to my latest post in my blog. You have great pictures of the dish and I’ve read this article – you’re also a great writer! Keep up the great work :)

    • January 9, 2013 at 18:32 #

      Hi! Thanks so much for the kind words and posting the link onto your blog! Zereshk Polo is definitely one of my favorites as well. Good luck on your blog :).

  4. January 9, 2013 at 18:19 #

    Reblogged this on HelloGreatness.com.


  1. My Bucket List | HelloGreatness.com - January 7, 2013

    […] Zereshk Polo ba Morgh (click here for a picture of the dish – it’s amazing! Also click here to read a little about […]

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