Adas Polo Ba Morgh (Turmeric Rice and Lentil Pilaf)

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  • 2 tablespoons 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 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric, divided
  • 3 teaspoons Advieh (Persian Spice Mix), divided
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground saffron, dissolved in 2 tablespoons rosewater
  • 1 1/4 cups lentils
  • 12 cups water, divided
  • 2 cups long-grain basmatic rice
  • 9 tablespoons oil, butter or ghee
  • 1 cup pitted dates, cut into pieces
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground saffron, dissolved in 4 tablespoons orange blossom water


To 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.

In a medium saucepan, place the lentils and 4 cups of water with remaining 1 teaspoon turmeric and cook for 15 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked. Drain and set aside.

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.

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