Saturday, June 29, 2013

Golden Chicken Kebabs with Persian Rice

I've been taken to task for featuring too many vegetarian dishes on this blog, the complaint coming from my youngest, very non-vegetarian daughter so here is one of her favourite meals: chicken and rice. Not just any chicken and rice, but succulent garlicky saffron chicken served on a bed of fluffy basmati rice with crunchy bits nestled in its midst.
Golden Chicken Kebabs with Special Everyday Persian Rice
The recipe for Golden Chicken Kebabs is an easy, flavourful way of preparing boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs.

The meat is trimmed of fat, cubed and marinated in a mixture of plain yogurt, garlic and saffron. It soaks for 3-24 hours so it's easy to prepare in advance.

The kebabs cook very quickly, 10 minutes on the grill or under the broiler and they're done, making them perfect for a busy weeknight. The meat is juicy and tender, and flavoured with garlic and the earthy flavour of saffron. You don't really taste the yogurt but it seems to enhance the natural flavour of the chicken.
Delicious hot or cold.
Grilled Chicken Kebabs
The rice recipe, also called chelo, is a little labour intensive but is a favourite of both daughters so gets made on occasion.

Quite a few steps are required in getting this basmati rice to the table and if I knew how to cut back on the time and labour involved and still get the same results, I would. It starts with a rinse and then a long soak in some salted water. The rice is then cooked briefly in boiling water, drained, then rinsed in cool water to stop the cooking.

One thing that sets chelo apart from everyday Persian rice is the tahdig, a crispy golden layer that forms on the bottom of the pot during the next phase of cooking. To make it, some of the partly cooked rice is combined with an egg and yogurt and added to hot oil in the pot. The remaining rice is added carefully to create a mound, the pot is covered and the rice steams while the tahdig forms.
Chelo with Tahdig
To serve, the rice is garnished with the crunchy, golden shards of deliciousness. It has the perfect texture with absolutely no stickiness and tastes as good reheated as it does freshly made. It makes a huge amount, easily serving 8....or maybe only 4-5 if my daughters are around!

Both recipes are from the book Seductions of Rice, by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid.
The recipe for the Golden Chicken Kebabs can be found here.
The recipe for Special Everyday Persian Rice can be found here.

1 comment:

  1. I can see why your daughter requested for this chicken and rice meal. It looks delicious! I got to have a look at that book Seductions of Rice! Being Asian, our daily meals are rice!
    Thanks for sharing, hope you have a great week ahead!


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