Barberry Saffron Chicken & Basmati Rice

Barberry Chicken

Take your chicken and rice to another level with this simple and delicious recipe, you will never have it the same again! 

If you know Persian cuisine or come from a family that cooks traditional Persian food, you know what Barberry {Zereshk} is! My husband and I love the sweet, tart, mouthwatering flavor of barberry and will never turn down a plate of Barberry Rice {Zereshk Polo}!

One thing that I grew up on and I know most of my friends did was, Chicken & Rice. The go-to meal for all our moms. I think we had this dish at least once a week and come to think of it, my mom still makes it every week! Plus, when we visit my husband’s parents, we have it for dinner all the time! So you know, this is a dish that hits close to home.

Traditionally, the Barberry is cooked separately and topped over Basmati rice, served with chicken. I decided to give this dish a twist and instead of adding the Barberry to the rice, I added it to the chicken. Times are not like it used to be. Women work nowadays and we are too tired to spend 3 hours slaving away in the kitchen after a long days work! So I eliminated the whole chicken our moms used to cook and kept it simple, chicken tenders. Chicken tenders cook fast and are so easy to deal with. Just take them out of the package, remove the white tendons, season and cook! From start to finish, this dish will take you at most 30 minutes!

We love Barberry Rice but after making this, I think we have found a new favorite that will go into our weekly dinner menu!


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Barberry {Zereshk} Saffron Chicken & Basmati Rice

1/2 Tsp Saffron
1/2 Cup Boiling Water
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 Lb Pkg Organic Chicken Tenders, white tendons removed
1/2 Tsp Kosher Salt
1/4 Tsp Black Pepper
1/4 Tsp Garlic Powder
1 Tbsp Canola or Vegetable Oil
1 Medium Onion, sliced
1/3 Cup Dried Barberry {Zereshk}
2 Tbsp Sugar
3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter

1. Combine the Saffron, boiling water and lemon juice in a small bowl and allow to steep for its color to bloom.
2. Season the tenders with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
3. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat, sear each side of the chicken tenders for 30 seconds then remove to a plate and set aside.
4. Lower the heat to a medium and add the sliced onions to the same pan, sauté for 5 minutes.
5. Add in the barberry, sugar and butter, mix and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. Place the chicken back into the pan. Stir the saffron water to release more color then strain into the  pan.
7. Cook for 4 minutes, turning the chicken as it cooks and until the liquid has almost evaporated.
8. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
9. Serve over rice.

Simple Basmati Rice

1 1/2 Cups Basmati Rice
2 Cups Room Temperature Water
1 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
1 Tsp Kosher Salt

1. Place the rice in a large bowl and fill with cold water. Swirl your hand through the water and the rice; the water will go cloudy. Once you’ve swirled your hand around for a minute or so, pour off the water, making sure not to lose any rice. Repeat this washing process until the water runs clear. Usually, this takes 3 or 4 changes of water.
2. Add the rinsed rice, water, butter and salt to a small pot over high heat.
3. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer under low heat.
4. Cover with a paper towel under the lid to trap the steam and cook for 20 minutes.
5. Uncover, fluff with fork and serve.

Chef Alina
Los Angeles, CA

3 thoughts on “Barberry Saffron Chicken & Basmati Rice

    • Thank you! The Ramen Recipe is really popular! I’m Persian Armenian so I have to represent! Haha just saw your site and love it!!!! Totally will share with my friends!!!

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