Introduction: Easy Pot of Delicious Persian Chicken Stew
My name is Dylan and I am submitting this instructable to teach people how to make a favorite dish from my childhood. My father is Iranian and on special occasions would prepare this meal at my family's eager request. This guide will help anyone seeking to explore cooking cuisine from other cultures to prepare a delicious and large home-style Persian meal full of wholesome ingredients. It is a chicken based dish full of juices and vegetables to be served with basmati rice. This instructable uses a non-steaming rice cooker for traditional preparation, however there are alternative ways to prepare the rice for those who do not own this equipment and do not want to invest in one. This instructable will not touch on other modes of rice preparation, nor will it instruct on basic kitchen skills such as how to chop vegetables.This meal is perfect for anyone wanting to both impress and satisfy family & friends, or if you are just looking to prepare a large quantity of nutritious food to enjoy for days.
Total Time: 1 1/2 hours
Feeds: 4+ adults
Step 1: Ingredients and Materials
To prepare this recipe you do not need much in regards to kitchen wares. You will need to use:
- Stove top
- Large pot with lid
- Cutting board
- Kitchen knife
- Measuring cups & measuring spoons
- Persian rice cooker
The ingredients include:
- 3 cups uncooked basmati rice
- 3-4 lbs uncooked, skinless, bone-in chicken
- 3 white potatoes
- 3-5 large carrots
- 1 large white onion
- 1 tsp turmeric spice
- Salt and pepper
- 5 1/2 tbsp. cooking oil
- Pinch of saffron
- 1 can of tomato paste
The beauty of this dish is that it is prepared all in the same pot and slowly builds on itself, so if you want to make a larger quantity than this recipe specifies it is as easy as scaling up all the ingredients used to an amount appropriate to your needs.
Step 2: Description of Materials
The most notable thing about this recipe that may be foreign to readers is the use of a Persian rice cooker. This style of rice cooker uses a consistent heat without steaming the rice which produces a fluffier rice with a crispy shell formed to the bottom of the cooker referred to as tadig. These rice cookers can be purchased online or at any international food market that may be in your area.
For readers who do not have this equipment and do not wish to purchase one, the rice for this dish can be made in anyway that you would normally prepare white rice, such as on the stove stop. However, I would highly recommend adding one of these cookers to your kitchen wares if you enjoy rice dishes because the rice made from it is very delicious and has a great consistency. A link to a product page on Amazon.com is below.
Step 3: Preparation of Basmati Rice and Ingredients
The first thing that should be attended to is the cooking of the rice. This is because the Persian rice cooker takes roughly an hour and a half to fully complete the basmati rice and tadig which is longer than any other part of the dish.
Setting Up the Rice
- Scoop 3 cups of basmati rice into the rice cooker
- Wash the rice by running water over the grains while whisking slowly and pouring water out.
- Add 3 cups of water, or however much is necessary to submerge the uncooked rice 1 inch below the water level.
- Add 2 tsp of salt.
- Add 3 tbsp. of cooking oil.
- Stir together and set the rice cooker to high. In the case of the cooker used in my photos this is setting 4.
The vegetables used in this recipe must be put into an appropriate form to facilitate the cooking process. This is done before any actual cooking begins because once everything is prepared all there is to do is add things into the stew at appropriate times.
Preparing the Vegetables
- Wash and peel the potatoes. Cut them into half inch cubes.
- Slice the carrots into half inch thick sections.
- Peel and coarsely chop the onion.
The carrots and potatoes should be cut into cubes of this size so that they do not totally break down during the cooking process.
Step 4: First Phase of Cooking
This meal is relatively simple to cook because it all occurs in the same pot and only requires that you add ingredients at the correct times and stir them periodically.
Adding the Onions and Chicken
- Place a large pot on the stove top and begin heating it on medium heat.
- Add 2 1/2 tbsp. of cooking oil.
- Once the oil is warm add the chopped onion.
- Add 1 tsp of turmeric and sauté together.
- When onions are beginning to break down, add all the chicken you would like to cook.
- Flip and stir gently until it is whitened on the exterior.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper onto all sides of the chicken pieces.
Step 5: Second Phase of Cooking
Adding the Tomato Paste and Vegetables
- When the chicken is no longer showing pink anywhere add 1 can of tomato paste and 1 1/2 cups of water.
- When the water reaches a boil lower the stove heat to a simmer.
- Gently stir together occasionally for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes have passed add the cut carrots and potatoes. The water level should be high enough to at least partially submerge the uppermost layer of vegetables. Add water if it is not high enough.
- Place the lid on the pot and allow it all to simmer while stirring occasionally until the chicken is fully cooked and the vegetables are soft but still retain their form.
- Tip: By now the ingredients have all been simmering long enough for them to be fragile, so take care while stirring to not mash the potatoes or remove the chicken from the bones.
- When it reaches its finished state lower the stove heat to its lowest setting to keep the food warm until the rice is finished and the meal can be served.
Step 6: Final Phase of Preparation
- When the rice cooker indicates it is finished take the lid off and scoop the rice into a serving dish of your choice.
- Mix a pinch of saffron with a few spoonfuls of rice and a splash of water in a cup. Pour this on top of the main rice pile to add a portion of yellow color to the rice mound.
- Tip: This step is purely for an aesthetic touch and is optional. It is common in traditional Persian rice dishes to include saffron rice for its color and appealing smell.
- Carefully remove the crunchy shell (tadig) left in the rice cooker and place it on top of the rice mound.
- Remove all the chicken and vegetables out of the pot and place into a separate serving dish. Be sure to also scoop plenty of the juices into the dish as well.
Step 7: Presentation
- To plate, take a helping of rice and either top it with chicken and vegetables to allow the juices of the dish to integrate with the rice or enjoy them separately side by side.
- Cut a piece of tadig and ladle juices over it.
Step 8: Final Remarks
I hope this instructable was informative and approachable so any one can enjoy a meal that is dear to me with only a trip to the store and a bit of kitchen experience. This dish retains its quality well when refrigerated in tupper wear so it is perfect to save and quickly heat in a microwave for lunch or dinner again for a fast and hearty meal. I hope everyone reading will add this dish to their collection of favorites!
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