Persian Rice with Chicken and Saffron


Per request from a friend who actually has recently harvested saffron and wanted recipes. No photos because I have not made this recently.

2 cups rice

4 cups water or enough to allow the rice to roll around freely in a large pot

salt to taste

1 large flour tortilla or chapati or a similar sort of flat bread

melted butter

onion and chicken breast

saffron

Rinse the rice until the water runs clear. Add rice to boiling water and boil until the rice grains easily break between your thumb and forefinger but not done. Rice should still be firm. Drain the rice in a colander. While rice is boiling, saute one finely chopped, medium sized onion in oil or butter. Add one large diced chicken breast to the onion and saute until tender. Do not overcook the chicken. After rice is drained, add the onion and chicken mixture to the rice. In the bottom of a large pot pour enough oil or butter to cover the bottom and place the tortilla/chapati on top of the oil. Scoop the rice and chicken mixture onto the tortilla forming a cone. Do not let the rice touch the sides of the pot. With the handle of a wooden spoon, punch several holes through the rice mixture all the way down to the tortilla/chapati. Add strands of saffron to the melted butter and pour over the rice cone. Place several layers of paper towels or a thick tea towel over the pot. Place lid firmly on top. Cook at medium low heat for 30 to 40 minutes. To test, place a small amount of water on your index finger and touch side of the pot. If it sizzles, the rice mixture is done. Turn onto a platter and serve. You will have this heavenly crunchy rice and tortilla/chapati mixture at the bottom of the pot. Serve with the rest of the rice and chicken mixture.

You must use long grain rice like Basmati for this dish. Do not use short grain or Jasmine rice. The goal is to have every rice grain totally separate when the dish is done.

Cooking with Paneer


Although I did know what paneer is–a white cheese originally from India, I had no idea what to do with it. At the last trip to the grocery, I saw it there with all the other specialty cheeses and said to myself, “Why not try this?” I’ve made India dishes of various kinds off and on for decades but never used paneer.

My first experiment resulted in this:

Here is the recipe: sauté 5 to 6 coarsely chopped cloves of garlic in olive oil (I know you should use ghee but I did not have any). Finely chop fresh ginger to equal 2 – 3 Tablespoons. Add to the garlic. Stir in garam masala or curry powder–I used some of both which I had on hand. Add paneer which has been cut into cubes. After the above were adequately cooked, I added coarsely chopped arugula and when it was wilted, I added frozen peas and continued cooking only until they were warm. I served it over basmati rice which I cooked while making the paneer recipe.

I made this a couple of days ago. Today I am experimenting with another paneer recipe I created. This time I will mix what I have on hand, chopped onions, carrot coins, chopped beets, paneer, and chopped poblano peppers. I will use the same spices as before.

Both these recipes are vegetarian.