After someone mentioned to me that Iranians use rose water in their cooking and considering my love for rosewater, I started reading about Iranian food with the intention of experimenting with a few recipes soon. I read through many websites but did not print or copy one recipe. What I usually do when I want to try out a new type of cooking or food from a new cuisine, I read a lot about it and then I innovate based on whatever stuck in mind or whatever stood out from all the recipes.
The following recipe is adapted from many recipes that I found on many different websites on Iranian/Persian food. I can safely say that the chicken was very flavorsome and the rice deliciously fluffy. Why not give a try?!
Boneless Chicken with Paprika & Rosemary and Oven-baked Saffron Basmati Rice (for 4):
For the chicken:
– 500g boneless chicken breast, cut into cubes
– 1 onion, cut in half and then thinly sliced
– 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
– 2 Tbsp butter
– 1 tsp paprika
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1/2 tsp rosemary
– A pinch of black pepper
– 1 tsp tomato paste dissolved in 1/2 cup of hot water
For the rice:
– 1 cup basmati rice
– 1 Tbsp butter
– 2 1/2 cup boiling water
– A pinch of saffron dissolved in a tablespoon of warm water
– 1/4 tsp rosewater
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Wash the rice in a strainer under running water for a minute.
Melt the butter in a pan and when it starts to form bubbles, add the rice and the salt. Stir-fry for a few minutes.
Put the rice in a baking dish and pour over it the boiling water and the saffron and sprinkle the rosewater.
Place in the oven on the middle rack and let it bake for 50-60 minutes. At the end, the water should have evaporated and the rice should have doubled in size.
While the rice is cooking in the oven, work with the chicken.
Fry the onions and garlic in the butter over medium heat. When they start to soften, add the chicken and cook for a few minutes before adding the paprika and salt and rosemary and black pepper. Cook the chicken very well. Near the end, add the tomato paste in water and turn up the heat to high. The water will boil and evaporate leaving the chicken almost red from the paprika and tomato paste. There will be no sauce. The chicken will be coated with the wilted onions and garlic.
Now back to the rice, before taking out of the oven, make sure that the water has totally evaporated. The top of the rice might be a little crispy or hard because of the heat of the oven, but don’t worry, after the rice is cooked and you mix it, it will be fine. The rice will not come out yellow, but it will have a hint of pink from the saffron.
Serve the chicken with the rice on the side.