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My cookbook: "Tehran to New York"

On the Norouz day of 2020 spring, I finally published my book. The manuscript is titled: "Tehran to New York: A culinary bridge between Persian and Western cultures" and aims at presenting a unique blend of classic and contemporary Persian recipes, as well as samples of Western-style cuisine, offered in a Persian context. It is important to build bridges between cultures, and not walls. This book aims at constructing a bridge between the Persian and Western cultures. The book may be ordered here:
https://www.amazon.com/Tehran-New-York-culinary-cultures-ebook/dp/B0861H47GS/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=tehran+to+new+york&qid=1584810930&sr=8-1

Pomegranate Tahchin; Persian baked rice in yogurt custard

Pomegranate Tahchin does not stand among the traditional variations of the Persian classic (e.g. chicken, spinach, or red meat). Persian folks, however, customarily enjoy the liberty of incorporating ingredients of their choice (e.g. eggplant, cauliflower, assorted seafood, and legumes) into the stuffing mixtures which later will be layered in between rice. Recently, through the magic of social media, the author has virtually encountered a restaurant in Tehran, called the “Tahchin bar,” where modern styles of Tahchin are offered. Presented here is a technique for making pomegranate flavored Tahchin. The focal point of this post is on the visual appeal of the final dish; great flavor, of course, is not overlooked.

     
Ingredients:
Chicken mixture:
1 Pound (~450 gr or 2 medium) boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 TBSP parsley, finely chopped (optional. Any herb of preference may be used as well)
1 TSP salt
Saffron custard:
2 cups Jasmine, Basmati, or long grain rice
7.05 Ounces (200 gr or ¾ cup) thick 5% yogurt (or sour cream)
2 TBSP butter, melted
½ TSP salt
Pinch of powdered saffron
1 cup fresh pomegranate juice (reduced to 2 TBSP)*
* Store-bought pomegranate molasses can be alternatively used. The color will, however, will not be nearly as astonishing as that of the fresh pomegranate. See the bottom two pictures of this post. 



Squeeze all the juice from the arils of a large pomegranate. Make your own pomegranate molasses, by reducing the juice to 2 TBSP. The crimson color of your homemade molasses is crucial for making a spectacle of the final Tahchin.

Parboil and drain the rice following the instructions on this link. Mix the drained rice with yogurt, melted butter, and salt. Divide the rice mixture in half. To the first half add the pinch of saffron and mix well; to the second, the pomegranate molasses.

Coarsely process (or using your knife skills, finely chop) the breast meat and the caramelized onions. Divide the mince in half and mix the chopped parsley with one of the portions.
Rub some cold butter (or oil) on the bottom and sides of a 2 to 3 Qt. glassware baking dish. Evenly spread the saffron rice mixture on the bottom and sides of the dish. Evenly spread the plain half of the chicken mince on the bottom of the chamber, created by sticking the rice to the pan edges. Spread the second half of the chicken mixture on top of the previous meat layer. Evenly spread the pomegranate rice mixture on the previously laid chicken mixture.
Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake in a preheated 375°F (~190°C) for forty-five minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another fifteen to twenty minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Invert the rice onto a flat plate, gently lift the glassware pan and serve.


In the above image, store-bought pomegranate molasses is used. Parsley is also omitted and substituted with 1 TSP of chopped fresh mint. The color, admittedly, is not as magnificent of that the first version; the flavor, however, is nearly similar.

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