Serve this fancy chicken pilaf at your next dinner party when you want to give your guests or family an exotic experience. This fragrant dish is sure to please young and old. The coolest thing about this dish is, if you have a vegetarian among your guests, you can leave some of the lentils and rice to the side to serve without the chicken. Your friend will thank you, and still be getting a fully nourishing meal. Round it out with a Middle Eastern tomato salad, or roasted vegetables and more flat bread.
Start your meal with a mezze of flat bread toasted with za’atar, homemade hummus made with baharat seasoning, baba ganoush, olives, cheese and some fruit. There’s something on the menu sure to please everyone.
There are a lot of ingredients, and the orange and rose water may be difficult to find. You can use water or broth and serve with orange and lemon wedges on the side if your guests like the citrus accent. If you prep your vegetables before and have everything ready, the recipe comes together easily. The Advieh is a must though, it’s easy to make and there really isn’t any substitute.
Adas Polo Ba Morgh (Turmeric Rice and Lentil Pilaf)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 Onions, peeled and thinly sliced, divided
- 5 Cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 6 Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and breasts
- 1 tsp + 1 tbsp Salt, divided
- 1 tsp Ground black pepper, divided
- 2 tsp Turmeric, divided
- 3 tsp Advieh (Persian Spice Mix), divided
- 1/4 cup Fresh lime juice
- 1/8 tsp Ground saffron, dissolved in 2 tablespoons rosewater
- 1¼ cups Lentils
- 12 cups Water, divided
- 2 cups Long-grain basmatic rice
- 9 tbsp Oil, butter or ghee
- 1 cup Pitted dates, cut into pieces
- Zest of 1 orange
- 1/4 tsp Ground saffron, dissolved in 4 tablespoons orange blossom water
Cook the chicken
Preheat the oven to 400° F and oil a baking dish. Spread slices from 2 onions and garlic in the baking dish. In a large bowl toss the chicken with oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon advieh and lime juice. Place the seasoned chicken on top of the onions in the baking dish. Cover tightly with foil and bake in the oven for 45 to 55 minutes or until chicken is tender. Add the saffron-rosewater, cover and keep warm until ready to serve with the rice.
Cook the rice
In a wide skillet, heat 3 tablespoons oil and brown the remaining onion slices for 10 to 15 minutes over medium heat. Add dates, orange zest, ½ teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 2 teaspoons advieh and a tablespoon of the saffron-orange blossom water. Stir and set aside.
Wash rice thoroughly and set aside to soak for 1 hour (optional). In a large covered pot, bring 8 cups water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil. Add the rinsed rice and boil uncovered on high heat uncovered for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the rice has slightly softened. Drain the rice in a colander, rinse and set aside.
Melt 3 tablespoons oil over low heat in the same heavy-bottomed pot. In a small bowl, gently mix 2 cups of lightly cooked rice with 2 tablespoons of saffron-orange blossom water and spread evenly in the bottom of the pot. This will be the crispy rice referred to as Tah-dig. Begin by layering ⅓ of the partially cooked rice and ⅓ of the lentils and ⅓ of the date and onion mixture until all of the rice, lentils and dates are layered in the pot.
Spread the remaining 3 tablespoons oil over the rice and pour ¼ cup of water, as well as the remainder of the saffron-orange blossom water, evenly over the top of the rice. Wrap the lid with a clean towel and place on top of the pot. Allow the rice to steam over a medium-low to medium heat for about 45 minutes.
Place the rice and lentil pilaf on a serving platter with the chicken arranged around the platter and serve hot.