Zereshk Polo ba Morgh (Persian Saffron Chicken with Barberry Rice)

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This blog post has been created in partnership with LN Gold Saffron. But all the thoughts and opinions expressed in this blog are my own.

Persian cuisine, a lso known as Iranian cuisine, is ancient, rich and one of the world's finest. From savory stews to succulent grilled meats and luscious desserts, the gastronomy celebrates taste and traditions which have been lovingly passed down through generations.

Zereshk Polo Ba Morgh (Persian Saffron Chicken with Barberry Rice) is a dish with a rich history that reflects the diversity and complexity of Persian cuisine. Its combination of flavors and textures has made it a beloved dish in the country and is served often at weddings, birthdays and other special occasions.
Zereshk Polo ba Morgh is a Farsi term that means "Barberry Rice with Chicken". Tender chicken cooked with saffron and other aromatics served on a bed of saffron rice with caramelised sweet and slightly sour barberries. Full of exotic flavors, it is a treat for all senses and a true crowd-pleaser.
Saffron is a key ingredient in this dish that provides Zereshk Polo Ba Morgh its signature color and distinctive flavor and aroma.
For this recipe, I have used from LN Gold Saffron. L N Saffron is the perfect choice for those who want to indulge in the rich and luxurious flavor of this prized spice. It is 100% natural without any artificial colors or preservatives and procured directly from the Indian state of Kashmir, known for producing the finest quality saffron in the world. You can find their products here.
How is Zereshk Polo Ba Morgh served?

Traditionally Zereshk Polo Ba Morgh is served on a large platter with the saffron rice and chicken arranged in layers. Serve it with a side of Fresh cucumber and tomato salad and yogurt for a complete meal.

Extra Notes
  • Traditionally, Basmati rice is used to make this recipe. Make sure you wash the rice and soak it for half an hour before you start cooking. This will prevent the rice from getting overcooked or mushy.
  • Grind the saffron using mortar and pestle before soaking it in warm water to get the most of this expensive spice.
  • Barberries are the heart of this dish and add a unique tanginess to the rice. So, dont skip them. If you can't find barberries, you can substitute them with dried cranberries or raisins, but the flavor won't be the same.

If you make this recipe, I would love to know how it turned out! Please let me know by leaving a comment below.

    For the Chicken
  • 6 pieces of in-bone chicken drumsticks
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 cups of hot water

  • For the Saffron Water
  • 1/4 tsp saffron
  • 6 Tablespoons warm water

  • For the Barberry Rice
  • 2 cups Basmati rice
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup dried barberries

  1. Grind the saffron threads using a mortar and pestle or crush them in a small bowl with the back of a spoon. Add the warm water and let it sit for at least 15 minutes to release its golden color and distinctive flavor. Set this aside. This saffron water will be used in the chicken and the barberry rice.
  2. Rinse the basmati rice several times until the water runs clear, then soak it in water for half an hour.
  3. Heat oil in a pot over medium heat, then add the onions and saute for a few minutes until they become translucent.⦁ Next, add the minced garlic and continue cooking for about 30 seconds.
  4. Add in the chicken pieces and fry them for 5-6 minutes.
  5. Then, add the tomato paste, the turmeric powder,cumin powder, coriander powder, chilli powder, black pepper, salt, cinnamon powder, nutmeg powder and mix everything together.
  6. Add in the hot water and half of the saffron water( reserve half for the rice). Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the temperature to low/medium heat and let it simmer on low heat for 30-40 minutes or until the chicken gets cooked through and the sauce thickens and reduces.
  7. Meanwhile, we will prepare the saffron rice.
  8. Bring a pot of water to boil. Then, drain the water from the soaked rice, and pour the rice and salt into the boiling water. Cook until the rice is cooked and becomes soft and fluffy but not mushy.
  9. In a frying pan, heat the butter over low heat, add in the barberries and cook for a few minutes until they’re plump and juicy. Add sugar and cook for an additional minute. Turn off the heat.
  10. In another bowl, take 1/2 cup of the cooked rice from the pot and add the barberries and the reserved saffron water. Gently mix everything together carefully making sure the rice doesn't break.
  11. To assemble, on a serving plate arrange the white rice, then spread the saffron barberry rice on top of the white rice , top it with the cooked chicken pieces.
  12. In a frying pan, heat the butter over low heat, add in the barberries and cook for a few minutes until they’re plump and juicy. Add sugar and cook for an additional minute. Turn off the heat.
  13. For a complete meal,serve the dish with a refreshing cucumber, onion and tomato salad. Enjoy!


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