Persian Saffron Chicken (Zereshk Polo Ba Morgh)

by Sheryl

Serves: 3-4

Enjoy the unique blend of spices and the tender and juicy chicken with this fantastic Persian Saffron Chicken. Serve this with a simple Shirazi Salad for a meal to remember!



6 pieces of bone-in chicken (I use drumsticks or thighs)
A couple of tbsp vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 3/4 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp chilli powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp coriander
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 of the saffron water
1/4 tsp cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste
2 1/2 c. chicken stock (water will work too if you are using bone-in chicken)

Saffron Water:

1 ice cube
1/4 tsp of saffron, ground with a pestle and mortar
*In a small dish over the ice cube, sprinkle the saffron and let the ice cube melt. Set Aside.


1 tsp butter
1 1/2 c. basmati rice (dry)
1/4 tsp sugar
1/3 c. dried barberries
Half of the reserved saffron water

Shirazi Salad:

1/2 of a red onion
2 tomatoes
1 cucumber
The juice of one lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped or 1 tsp dried

How to make Persian Saffron Chicken (Zereshk Polo Ba Morgh)

Step 1: In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat.

Step 2: Mix the spices and sprinkle a bit of this over the chicken.

Step 3: Once the oil is hot, add the chicken and onion to the pot and saute until brown. Then, add the garlic and continue to cook for 30 seconds more.

Step 4: To the pot, add the rest of the spices, tomato paste, half of the saffron water, chicken stock, or water. Let everything simmer until the chicken is tender and the sauce has reduced and thickened. You can take the chicken out of the pot if it gets done before the sauce is reduced and thick and just continue to simmer the sauce until done.


Step 5: Following the package directions, cook the rice.

Step 6: Mel the butter in a small pan over medium heat. Add the barberries and sugar to the pan once the butter has melted and cook for about 30 seconds, stirring.

Step 7: Into a serving bowl, pour the rice. Mix half a cup of the cooked rice with the barberries and reserved saffron water in another bowl. On top of the remaining rice, spread the saffron rice.

Shirazi Salad:

Step 8: Prep the veggies. Dice them and toss with the mint and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper, then chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

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