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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).

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


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


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!