Zereshk Polo Ba Morg-A Delicious Persian Chicken and Rice Dish

When I lived in Maryland my husband and I went exploring for places to eat one day and came across a Persian restaurant called Sadaf.

It had many of the staple dishes found in Middle Eastern restaurants such as a variety of kabobs-and one visit after another we ended up trying every single one.

One day, after running through the whole menu, my husband instead decided to ask if there was a special that day-and that’s how we were introduced to zereshk polo ba morg.

When our waiter first mentioned it we had no idea what he was saying. But so far we loved everything we tried on the menu so we were willing to give it a go and ordered it. The dish we were presented with after a few moments was so amazing that we were instantly hooked and ordered it over and over again every time we ate there from then on.

However we moved away not too later after and was never able to find a restaurant that makes it-so I figured out how to make it on my own. And now you can too!

“Zereskh polo” is the barberry rice-a fluffy and buttery rice with sweet and tart barberries and “ba morg” literally translates to “with chicken.” The chicken is so soft and tender and full of complex flavor thanks to the star ingredient-saffron. You can watch a video for the recipe here.

Zereshk Polo Ba Morg


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 8 bone in, skin on chicken legs
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6-8 whole garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 cups water or chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • pinch of saffron
  • Optional veggies-carrots, celery, potato, etc


  1. In a large pan heat olive oil on medium heat, then add chopped onions and cook until a little color develops
  2. Add in tomato paste and mix into the oil for 2 minutes or until toasted
  3. Add turmeric and salt
  4. Place in your chicken legs and let the skin brown a bit before turning over and letting the other side brown also. Then add garlic cloves
  5. At this point you can add your vegetables if you’re using any-I decided to go with carrots
  6. After a few minutes cover the chicken with water or stock and add in soy sauce and saffron crushed between fingers.
  7. Cover and cook for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender

Serve with barberry rice and enjoy!

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