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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

Persian chicken with rice, lentil, and saffron sautéed apples


To the knowledgeable food lover, the embodiment of the spiced lentil pilaf is Mujadara, the Lebanese pilaf of lentil and caramelized onions. There, however, exists a Persian version of such pilaf, the version called "Adas-Polow," the one that is likely to be the origin of the Lebanese dish. "Adas" means lentil in Farsi and "Polow" means pilaf, the general term for a rice dish which has other ingredients mixed in- a Persian specialty, indeed.
Growing up in Iran, a family version of Adas-Polow was a weekly staple in our household. My mom's Adas-Polow contained cinnamon-scented sauteed beef, hidden between layers of rice and green lentils mixture. Since my dad was an antagonist of sweet food any sort, the customarily used sauteed dates or golden raisins and caramelized onions were dismissed from her version. As a true lover of Adas-Polow, my mom also used to routinely make a plain version of the dish with no beef, and as a side to chicken or beef stews.  Presented here is an unorthodox one-pot version of the dish with chicken, developed to patch the memories of the past with the experiences of my migration, exploring, and writing about food. While remaining loyal to the scent of cinnamon from my mother's version from childhood, I added another layer of color and flavor to garnish the dish. Namely, I gilded the rice with a crown of saffron sautéed apples.   

Ingredients:
3 pounds (~ 1.35 kg or 4 medium sized) 
chicken leg quarters (or 6 medium thighs) 
1 TBSP salt, divided
Cinnamon Scented caramelized onions (recipe follows)
½ cup French or brown lentils (soaked overnight)
2 cups medium grain rice
3 cups water
1 TBSP vegetable oil
Saffron sautéed apples (recipe follows)

Cinnamon Scented caramelized onions:
2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 TBSP sugar
1 TBSP red wine or apple cider vinegar
1 TSP cinnamon
½ TSP ginger powder (or 1 TBSP of the grated fresh ginger)
½ TSP granulated garlic (or 1 TBSP of the fresh puree garlic)

Saffron sautéed apples: 
1 TBPS butter
1 large Granny Smith apple, cut into thin slices 
20 mint leaves, finely chopped
½ lemon
Pinch of saffron powder or a few threads of saffron 
If the lentil is not soaked and there is no time for that, parboil it in water (do not add salt as the amount of salt in the recipe is precisely calculated) until half cooked. Drain and set aside. Season the thighs with 1 TSP of salt and temper to the room temperature (i.e. leave outside of the fridge for at least 15 minutes). Brown each side of the thighs for 2 minutes and in a very hot pan. Do not add any oil as the released oil from the chicken will suffice for the purpose. To the same pan, add the onion slices, sugar, and vinegar. reduce the heat to medium low and start to caramelize the onions. The oil from the thighs should be sufficient to caramelize the onions, otherwise, add a few drops of vegetable oil. To another wide and large skillet with a lid, add the rice, lentil, water, 2 TSP of salt, and 1 TBSP of vegetable oil. Arrange the thighs on the surface and set the pan on medium heat.
When the contents of the rice skillet come to a boil, reduce to heat to low and cover the pan. Uncover the pan every five minutes and gently stir the rice, making sure the water is not separated from the rice grains. When the onion is caramelized add the cinnamon, garlic, and ginger. Toast in the oil for 30 seconds. When all the surface moisture in the rice skillet is evaporated, arrange the onion mixture between the thighs and on the surface. Warp the lid with a piece of cloth (like here). Cover the pan and make sure steam is generated. After seeing the steam, reduce to heat to very low, and steam the rice for at least 30 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked.
While the rice is being steamed, sauté the apple slices in the butter. Add the mint leaves, saffron, and deglaze with fresh lime juice. Gild the rice with this majestic mixture.
Serve in the same skillet and eat.

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