Chicken with saffron, yoghurt, raisins and pistachios

Chicken with saffron, yoghurt, raisins and pistachios

Khoresht-e mast

By
From
Saraban
Serves
6
Photographer
Mark Roper

Not strictly authentic, however this delectable, creamy dish is based on yoghurt khoresht that are sometimes made with lamb, sometimes with chicken. The sauce is delicate, mildly spicy and a little sour and reminds me, once again, of the culinary connections between Persia and India.

Feel free, by all means, to use chicken thighs on the bone, if you can find them.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions, finely sliced
4 sticks celery, finely sliced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1kg boneless free-range chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 bay leaf
500ml good-quality chicken stock
1 orange, juiced
1 teaspoon sea salt
350g thick natural yoghurt
1 teaspoon cornflour
1 tablespoon water
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons roughly chopped golden raisins
1 tablespoon slivered pistachios
Saffron chelow rice
fresh herbs and flatbread, to serve
3 tablespoons saffron liquid

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan or casserole dish over a low heat. Add the onion and celery and fry gently until soft and translucent. Stir in the spices and fry for another couple of minutes.
  2. To make the saffron liquid, lightly toast the saffron threads in a dry frying pan over a medium heat for about 30 seconds. While the threads must be totally dry, be very careful not to burn them. As they crisp up, they will begin to release a wonderfully pungent aroma. Tip the saffron into a mortar and leave for a moment or two before grinding to a powder.
  3. Wash the rice thoroughly, then leave it to soak in a generous amount of lukewarm water for 30 minutes. Swish it around with your fingers every now and then to loosen the starch.
  4. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and brown over a high-ish heat for a minute, stirring to coat with the spice mixture. Add the bay leaf, stock, saffron liquid, citrus juices and zest and bring to a boil. Add the salt, then lower the heat and simmer gently for 50–60 minutes, skimming away any impurities that rise to the surface.
  5. While the stew is simmering, whisk the yoghurt in a bowl until very smooth. Mix the cornflour with the water and add to the yoghurt with the egg. Stir well to combine, then whisk in a few tablespoons of the hot broth from the pan. Pour this back into the barely simmering stew. Add the raisins and pistachios and cook at a bare simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring in one direction only from time to time. Be sure not to let the sauce boil or it will curdle.
  6. Mix the cornflour with the water and add to the yoghurt with the egg. Stir well to combine, then whisk in a few tablespoons of the hot broth from the pan. Pour this back into the barely simmering stew.
  7. Add the raisins and pistachios and cook at a bare simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring in one direction only from time to time. Be sure not to let the sauce boil or it will curdle.
  8. When ready to serve, taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Serve with buttery plain chelow rice, fresh herbs and flatbread.
Tags:
Saraban
Malouf
Greg
Lucy
Iran
Iranian
Middle Eastern
Persian
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