shiraz is the most romantic city in iran, or maybe i should say it used to be! it's a city with more than 4000 years of history and very close to the beautiful ancient sites of persepolis and used to be the capital of iran several centuries ago. it's the city of many famous persian poets such as saadi and hafiz, is also the city of wine and flowers. according to wiki the oldest sample of wine in the world, dating to approximately 7,000 years ago, was discovered on clay jars recovered outside of shiraz.
also people from shiraz which we call shirazi cook very delicious meals and this is one of my favorite ones that i tried to make and would like to share it with you. polow in persian means cooked rice and this dish looks like a rice lasagna. it has layers of rice, chicken, and eggplants. but before we get to each layer i should say how to prepare them.
- three cups of basmati rice
- two pounds of chicken breasts
- one large onion
- one teaspoon ground saffron
- two medium eggplants
- one cup dried barberries
- two tablespoon sugar
- two cups plain greek yogurt
- two egg yoks
- one teaspoon cinnamon
- a piece of lavash bread
soak the rice in water, salt, and butter a couple of hours before cooking. cook the chicken with salt, pepper and the onion in a dutch oven for twenty minutes. dissolve the saffron with some hot water and mix half of it with the cooked chicken. marinate the cooked chicken with saffron, sugar, yogurt, and eggs.
peel and cut the eggplants. if they are not chinese eggplants or any of the long and thin ones, you'd better leave them after peeling in water for a couple of hours to get rid of the bitterness. then sprinkle salt, pepper and cinnamon and saute them briefly in a pan.
cook the rice ten minutes in six cups of water after bringing it to a boil. then drain the rice. preheat oven to 350 degrees F. melt half a cup of butter in a dutch oven or a non stick deep ovenproof dish. place a layer of rice, a layer of eggplants, and then a layer of chicken mixture on top. then arrange another round of layers, put the lid on a leave in the oven for twenty minutes. remove the dish from the oven. place a large serving platter on top of the dish. hold the dish and platter firmly together and turn over to unmold the rice. garnish with sauteed barberries and/or pistachios. nusheh jahn!