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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:  

Southwestern Iranian chicken, dill, and black-eyed peas rice

The source of inspiration for the presented one-pot rice and chicken dish is Shushtar, a Southwestern city in the Iranian Khuzestan Province. The authentic version of the dish is made by layering cooked chicken pieces in between layers of parboiled rice that is mixed with dill and black-eyed peas. Here I present two personal takes on the traditional dish; one based on parboiling the rice, and the other, based on using the absorption method in a one-pot setup.

1 medium whole chicken (around 4.4 Pounds~ 2 kg)*
175 gr (or 6) scallions, finely chopped 
¼ cup dried dill weed
10.58 Ounces (~300 gr ) black-eyed peas, fully cooked and drained
½ TSP turmeric
½ TSP granulated garlic
2 TBSP butter
Pinch of saffron
1½ TSP Kosher salt*
1 dried chili of choice (optional)
2 cups Jasmine rice
3 cups water
* either spatchcocked or cut to four leg and breast segments.
** remember to reduce for finer grain styles of salt (e.g. table salt).

  • Finely chop the spring onions. In a separate bowl mix the dill, the drained peas, turmeric, and the granulated garlic.   
  • Preheat the oven on 500F (~260C).
  • In a heavy 5 to 6 Qt. skillet (which must have an ovenproof lid), set on medium-high heat, brown the skin side of the spatchcocked chicken (or the pieces) in the butter and saffron (I have used saffron compound butter in the pictures).
  • Add in the chopped scallion and saute in the oil until translucent.
  • With the chicken positioned skin-side up, transfer the dish to the oven and cook, uncovered for 15 minutes.

  • Temporarily remove the chicken from the pan and mix in the dill/bean mixture, rice, the salt, and the optional chili.
  • Add the water and make sure the beans are mixed with rice.
  • Reduce the oven heat to 375F (~190C). 
  • Arrange the skin-side up chicken on the rice, cover the pan and cook for 30 minutes. Uncover the pan every 10 minutes and stir the rice to ensure its uniform cooking. 
  • If the chicken is close to being done, but the rice still has moisture, uncover the pan during the last 10-minute time window. 

Serve rustic style and in the same pan.
One can also cook the rice in the Persian way, by parboiling and draining and then mixing the rice grains with the herbs, turmeric, saffron, and garlic. The rice then has to be cooked on low heat for 30 minutes until the rice is fully steamed. I recommend cooking the chicken separately and serving on the side.