Sticky Pomegranate Chicken with Iranian Jewelled Rice. This sticky chicken dish is a flavoursome and healthy way to keep meals exciting this season.
Jewelled rice is a famous Iranian dish, traditionally served at weddings and it truly does scream of celebration— the butter-and-saffron coated rice is laced with colourful flecks of dried fruit and toasted nuts and glistening strips of citrus zest. It is usually served with barberries but I find them difficult to source, so I substitute with cranberries.
gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free
750 g (1 lb 10 oz) free range chicken thigh fillets, sliced lengthways into 3 even sized pieces
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely grated
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon tamari (or light soy sauce)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Iranian jewelled rice
150 ml (5 fl oz) coconut milk
250 ml (8 fl oz) water
200 g (7 oz) brown basmati rice, washed and rinsed
pinch of saffron (optional)
2 tablespoons butter or extra virgin olive oil (for dairy free)
2 tablespoons pistachio kernels
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
2 tablespoons cranberries, unsweetened
large pinch of ground cinnamon
large pinch of ground cardamom
large pinch of ground allspice
1 orange zest
strip seeds (arils) from 1 pomegranate
sea salt, to taste
Start by marinating the chicken. Place garlic, ginger, sesame oil, pomegranate molasses, tamari and oil in a bowl. Add chicken
and toss to coat. Leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight if time allows.
To make the jewelled rice, place the coconut milk, water, basmati and saffron in a medium saucepan. Bring to the boil and stir
to combine. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 12–14 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside, covered, for 5–10 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the butter or oil in a medium frying pan. Add the pistachios, almonds, cranberries, spices and orange zest. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Once the rice has rested, remove the lid and fluff with a fork. Toss buttery nuts, cranberries, spices and zest through the rice. Set aside.
Heat a large frying pan to a medium temperature. Add chicken, in batches, and cook for about 5 minutes or until caramelized and just cooked through. Remove from the heat and allow to rest, about 3 minutes.
To serve, spoon the rice into bowls, top with chicken and, at the last minute, scatter with pomegranate arils.
This is an edited extract from Whole Food, Bowl Food, by Anna Lisle, published by New Holland Publishers – Available now.