Pot-Bottom Crust with Chicken
By: Mrs. Soheila Amiri
1 pound of long grain rice.
1/2 cup (4 oz) of cooking oil.
1 cup (8 oz) of mAst (plain yogurt).
2 teaspoons of zafarAn (saffron).
1 pound of various chicken pieces.
6 egg yokes (zardeh tokhm-e morgh).
1 cup of red currents (zereshk) presoaked and washed.
1 tea spoon of dried saffron (zafarAn).
1 tablespoon of lemon juice, or one fresh lemon, squeezed.
1 tablespoon of granualted sugar.
A touch of turmeric (zard-choobeh).
Directions (for Tahcheen):
Presoak the rice in hot water and salt for about an hour before cooking. Cut up the onion in large pieces. Wash and devein the chicken pieces, put them in a pot with some water, add the onion, turmeric, salt and a touch of saffron and let it cook until the meat softens. Take it out, drain it and set aside.
In a medium size pot, half filled with water, boil the rice for a few minutes, until the rice is half crunchy half soft when you chew on it. Take it out, drain it and set aside. You may want to wash off the rice in a stringer, if you used excessive amounts of salt to soak the rice.
In a bowl, mix the egg yokes and yogurt and beat it until it has a smooth texture. Mix in about a cup full of cooked rice.
In a medium size pot, pour half of the cooking oil in the bottom of the pot, evenly pour in the egg-yoke/yogurt mixture in the bottom, place the chicken pieces on top of it and top it up loosely with the remainder of the boiled rice. Sprinkle the remainder of the oil on top of it, close the lid, put the heat setting at high for a minute or so until the rice starts steaming.
Turn the heat setting to low and let it cook for about an hour and a half to two hours. The lower the heat and the longer the cooking time, the crustier and darker the bottom layer becomes. Careful not to burn it :-)
Direction for Zereshk:
In a cup containing two oz of boiling water, pour the saffron, cover the cup and let it sit for a while (until it forms a rich color). In a pan, pour one table spoon of oil, put the heat setting at medium-low, pour in the red currants, saffron liquid, sugar, turmeric and lemon juice and stir fry it for a few minutes until the sugar dissolves.
The zereshk is spread over the rice at serving time.
When cooking the rice, if you put a small amount of saffron in one side of the pot, the rice gets a richer aroma.
When serving the rice, turn off the heat and let it sit for a few minutes. Then place a round, flat dish over the pot and gently flip it over. The rice comes out in the same fashion as a cake and can be cut up and served at the table.
Any time you use saffron, specially if it has been sitting in the refrigerator or freezer, if you put it in microwave for a few seconds, excess moisture is taken out and it gives better color.
Don't soak the zereshk in water for too long. They get soft.
In some recipes, the Zereshk is combined with dried almond slices. You can presoak and drain them, and add them in at frying time.
Best kind of chicken pieces for this dish are the white meat (breast) and the thighs.
This recipe requires a good amount of oil in the bottom of the pot for it to come out with a nice color and not too dry.
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