In this post I explain how you can make fried chicken the Persian way - quick, easy and so delicious! It takes 30 minutes (40 minutes if you're serving it with Zereshk Polo Kateh style).
Chicken Dishes,  Persian Classics,  Persian Fast Food,  Persian Rice

Persian Fried Chicken (Saffron Chicken)

I get quite a few comments from you guys saying that you love Persian food but often don’t have the time to prepare it. While there are many recipes that have a really short prep time, the cooking time for good authentic Persian food is typically long.

On a Sunday you might be free to start preparing dinner at 4 pm and then sit back while the ingredients do their magic in the pan for the next 2 hours. But how can you enjoy a delicious Persian meal during the week when you get home in the evening and feel bloody knackered?

I could tell you just pick any dish you like and reduce the cooking time. But let me tell you, it’s not gonna taste how it’s supposed to, even though some people are going to want to convince you. (Don’t listen to them, I tried their food. Trust me.)

In this post I explain how you can make fried chicken the Persian way – quick, easy and so delicious! It takes 30 minutes (40 minutes if you’re serving it with Zereshk Polo Kateh style). If you want some khoresht, gravy or sauce with you’re chicken, you will need 45 minutes more and a few more ingredients. The effort is almost the same though.

Persian Saffron Chicken Recipe | igotitfromymaman.com

Time

Fried chicken: 30 min

Turning the fried chicken into saffron chicken: +45 min

Zereshk Polo Kateh style: 40 min

Total:

40 min for fried chicken with Zereshk Polo

1 h 15 min for Saffron chicken with Zereshk Polo

Ingredients (serving 4)

1 kg / 2.2 lbs chicken thighs

4 tbsp frying oil / vegetable oil

1/4 tsp black pepper

Salt to taste

For Saffron Chicken (optional):

1 cup / 250ml freshly boiled water

1 small onion

2 tbsp butter

1/4 tsp saffron

Zereshk Polo

1 1/2 cup / 285g basmati rice 

2 1/4 / 560ml cups water + a few tbsp for the saffron

1/2 cup / 75g dried barberries

3 tbsp ghee (cleared butter) or vegetable oil

1/4 tsp saffron

3 tsp sugar

Salt to taste

Method

Start with the rice

Combine the saffron with a few tbsp freshly boiled water. Set the mixture aside in a warm place.

Wash the rice by rinsing it in a colander and then transferring it into a pan, or adding water to the pan with the rice, moving it around a bit, and draining the water. Repeat 4 to 5 times.

For 1 1/2 cups of rice add 2 1/4 cups of water to the pan and salt to your own liking. Don’t be afraid to be generous with the salt. The rice soaks up quite a lot without it reflecting in the taste, similar to potatoes.

Put the pan over medium heat and add 2 tbsp ghee (cleared butter) or vegetable oil to it. Give it a quick stir.

Wash the dried barberries by rinsing them with water. Set them aside for later.

Once the amount of water in the pan with the rice has reduced significantly, reduce the temperature to low and put on the lid. Usually you see holes forming in the rice. This is how you know that it’s time to put on the lid and reduce the temperature. The rice will take 30 to 40 minutes to cook from now on.

Fry the chicken

Make several cuts in each chicken thigh. This will help them fry thoroughly and more quickly. Season them with black pepper and salt.

The frying pan should be large enough to fit all the chicken thighs without them being jammed. If your pan isn’t large enough fry them in batches. If they will be too jammed in the pan they won’t fry, which locks the surface and keeps them juicy inside. Instead the temperature will be too low and all the juiciness will leak into the pan. It doesn’t look good, nor does it taste good.

Put the frying pan over high temperature and add the frying oil. Once it’s hot put in the chicken. It’s best to use kitchen tongues, so you don’t burn yourself.

Don’t turn them until one side is fried golden brown. You can check in between to make sure they don’t burn. For me each side took 15 minutes to fry. Carefully turn them over and fry the other side until nice and crispy.

If you’re having fried chicken, you’re almost done. You can jump to “Serve the rice” and enjoy your quick and easy meal.

If you want to make saffron chicken

Melt the butter in a shallow pan with a lid. Peel the onion and cut a cross into it, from the top halfway through. Put it in the pan and transfer the chicken thighs to the pan as well.

Combine the saffron with 1 cup freshly boiled water and add the mixture to the pan. Put on the lid and set the temperature to medium.

After 15 minutes turn the chicken thighs over to make sure both sides get their dose of saffron water.

After another 15 minutes increase the temperature and let the chicken cook for another 5 minutes.

Serve the rice

In a small pan melt 1 to 2 tbsp of ghee (cleared butter) or vegetable oil. Once it’s hot add the dried barberries with 3 tsp of sugar. Fry the barberries about 20 seconds while constantly stirring. Be careful as they burn easily.

Check if the rice is ready by wetting the tip of a kitchen towel and carefully touching the side of the pan (close to the bottom) with it. If it makes a sound like ‘tssshhh’ the rice is ready.

Take the rice off the heat. Add the few tbsp saffron water you prepared in the beginning and the fried barberries to it. Combine everything well.

Serve the Zereshk Polo Kateh style with your fried chicken or saffron chicken. It tastes really good with Greek yogurt. Enjoy!


Persian Fried Chicken (+Saffron Chicken)

Course Main Course
Cuisine Persian
Keyword Barberry Saffron Rice, Chicken, easy recipe, fried chicken, Persian Chicken, quick dinner, Saffron chicken, weekday dinner
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
If you turn your fried chicken into saffron chicken 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Fried Chicken

  • 2.2 lbs chicken thighs (1 kg)
  • 4 tbsp frying oil / vegetable oil
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • salt to taste

For Saffron Chicken (optional)

  • 1 cup freshly boiled water (250 ml)
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 tsp saffron

Zereshk Polo

  • 1 1/2 cup basmati rice (285g)
  • 2 1/4 cup water + a few tbsp for the saffron (560ml)
  • 1/2 cup dried barberries (75g)
  • 3 tbsp ghee (cleared butter) or vegetable oil
  • 1/4 tsp saffron
  • 3 tsp sugar
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

Start with the rice

  1. Combine the saffron with a few tbsp freshly boiled water. Set the mixture aside in a warm place.

  2. Wash the rice by rinsing it in a colander and then transferring it into a pan, or adding water to the pan with the rice, moving it around a bit, and draining the water. Repeat 4 to 5 times.

  3. For 1 1/2 cups of rice add 2 1/4 cups of water to the pan and salt to your own liking. Don’t be afraid to be generous with the salt. The rice soaks up quite a lot without it reflecting in the taste, similar to potatoes.

  4. Put the pan over medium heat and add 2 tbsp ghee (cleared butter) or vegetable oil to it. Give it a quick stir.

  5. Wash the dried barberries by rinsing them with water. Set them aside for later.

  6. Once the amount of water in the pan with the rice has reduced significantly, reduce the temperature to low and put on the lid. Usually you see holes forming in the rice. This is how you know that it’s time to put on the lid and reduce the temperature. The rice will take 30 to 40 minutes to cook from now on.

Fry the chicken

  1. Make several cuts in each chicken thigh. This will help them fry thoroughly and more quickly. Season them with black pepper and salt.

  2. The frying pan should be large enough to fit all the chicken thighs without them being jammed. If your pan isn’t large enough fry them in batches. If they will be too jammed in the pan they won’t fry, which locks the surface and keeps them juicy inside. Instead the temperature will be too low and all the juiciness will leak into the pan. It doesn’t look good, nor does it taste good.

  3. Put the frying pan over high temperature and add the frying oil. Once it’s hot put in the chicken. It’s best to use kitchen tongues, so you don’t burn yourself.

  4. Don’t turn them until one side is fried golden brown. You can check in between to make sure they don’t burn. For me each side took 15 minutes to fry. Carefully turn them over and fry the other side until nice and crispy.

  5. If you’re having fried chicken, you’re almost done. You can jump to “Serve the rice” and enjoy your quick and easy meal.

If you want to make saffron chicken

  1. Melt the butter in a shallow pan with a lid. Peel the onion and cut a cross into it, from the top halfway through. Put it in the pan and transfer the chicken thighs to the pan as well.

  2. Combine the saffron with 1 cup freshly boiled water and add the mixture to the pan. Put on the lid and set the temperature to medium.

  3. After 15 minutes turn the chicken thighs over to make sure both sides get their dose of saffron water.

  4. After another 15 minutes increase the temperature and let the chicken cook for another 5 minutes.

Serve the rice

  1. In a small pan melt 1 to 2 tbsp of ghee (cleared butter) or vegetable oil. Once it’s hot add the dried barberries with 3 tsp of sugar. Fry the barberries about 20 seconds while constantly stirring. Be careful as they burn easily.

  2. Check if the rice is ready by wetting the tip of a kitchen towel and carefully touching the side of the pan (close to the bottom) with it. If it makes a sound like ‘tssshhh’ the rice is ready.

  3. Take the rice off the heat. Add the few tbsp saffron water you prepared in the beginning and the fried barberries to it. Combine everything well.

  4. Serve the Zereshk Polo Kateh style with your fried chicken or saffron chicken. It tastes really good with Greek yogurt. Enjoy!

Persian Saffron Chicken Recipe | igotitfromymaman.com

I hope you enjoyed this recipe! If you have any questions please let me know in the comments, I’m always happy to help. 

I’d love to see your fried chicken or saffron chicken! Feel free to tag me with @igotitfrommymaman on Facebook or Insta so I can take a look and give you a thumbs up!

Wanna save this recipe for later? You can print out the printable version above or pin it to your recipe board.

Looking for more Persian recipes? Here are my Persian classics!

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Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy your meal!

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