“Zereshk” are barberries in Persian. Barberries are tiny, red, tart fruit. They add a hint of sweet and sour to the recipe. They are also rich in vitamin C. You can find them at Persian or Afghan stores.
Zereshk Polo is traditionally a Persian rice dish made with chicken and barberries. We have removed the chicken and tried it with soy protein alternatives and jackfruit!
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A saffron with barberry Persian rice dish
- 8 oz package plant-based chik’n (we use the Sweet Earth Mindful Chik’n Strips)*
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 3 Tbsp. plant-based yogurt (we use Kite Hill plain almond yogurt)
- 1 tsp. of turmeric
- 1/2 tsp. of salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- Dash of cumin
- Pinch of ground saffron
- 1 tsp. oil
- 3 cups Basmati rice
- 2 Tbsp. salt
- 3 Tbsp. oil (divided)
- 2 Tbsp. brewed saffron (divided)
- 1 medium potato cut into 5-6 slices (for tahdig)
- 1/2 cup dried barberry
- 1/4 small onion julienned
* If you prefer to use a soy alternative, you can use jackfruit instead of the plant-based chick’n. We recommend a 20 oz can jackfruit in brine (drained, washed, and dried by squeezing water out with a cheese cloth or kitchen towel). You can remove or roughly chop the harder end pieces.
- Combine the “Chik’n Marinade” ingredients.
- Marinate the plant-based chik’n (or jackfruit) in the Chik’n Marinade in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
- Prepare the Persian Rice
- Wash over the rice by placing the rice in a large bowl and covering with water. Move the rice with your hand to clean the rice. Pour off the water. Repeat the process 3-4 times until the rice is clean.
- Fill a large pot with water. Add the 2 Tbsp. salt. Cover and bring to a boil on high heat. Add rice to the boiling water. Reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered for 10 minutes.
- Drain the rice.
- Add 2 Tbsp. oil to bottom of rice cooker (or non-stick pot with lid). Add 1 Tbsp. brewed saffron. Add sliced potatoes in one layer (for tahdig).
- Add half the rice and then the marinated chik’n (or jackfruit) mixture and cover with the remaining rice.
- Cover and cook 50 minutes in the rice cooker (or 50 minutes in a non-stick pot on medium heat).
- Add 1 Tbsp. oil in a nonstick skillet on medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until golden. Add barberry and 1 Tbsp. brewed saffron. Sauté for 2 more minutes!
- When serving, garnish the rice with the sautéed barberry.
- You may also garnish with saffron rice (as pictured). To make the saffron rice garnish, mix 3/4 cup cooked rice with 2 Tbsp. brewed saffron.
- Prep Time: 3 hours
- Cook Time: 60 minutes
- Category: Main Course
- Cuisine: Iranian/Persian
Keywords: Vegan, Plant-Based, Persian, Iranian, Zereshk, Polo, vegetarian