Christmas Persian Orange Glazed Chicken and Festive Persian Rice

Updated: Jun 6, 2021

Orange blossom, barberries, pistachios, saffron and the like are jewels in the crown of any Persian table, adorning the dishes with flavour and aroma.

I've used these spices for this festive season to capture the allure, magic and comfort that Christmas is known for.

If you've made my chicken orange stew you'll notice that this is an alternative non sweet version that is slightly drier. The rice is packed full of nuts for crunch, delightfully wrapped in a sea of silk road spices of cinnamon, cardamom and the unforgettable orange blossom.

Tuck yourselves in and be taken away on a mystical journey to Persia, where these spices will take you to a tantalising culinary journey that you won't want to come back from.


For the orange chicken

1kg chicken

4 oranges (medium size) juiced

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp saffron

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp  pepper

For the spiced rice

3 cups rice

1 tbsp oil

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp orange blossom petals

Note: If you don't have orange blossom petals you can use the peel of 4 oranges

1 1/2 cup water

1/4 cup pistachio either slivers or chopped

1/4 cup almond either slivers or chopped

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cardamom

pinch of cloves

pinch of nutmeg

1/4 tsp saffron

1/4 cup barberries

1 medium onion

For the garnish

1tbsp mixed pistachio and almonds

1tsp rose petals (optional)

1 tsp orange peel / orange blossom (optional)


Step 1

  • Add the chicken to a large pot

  • Add the fresh orange juice

  • Add the cinnamon, saffron, salt and pepper and give it a good mix

  • Allow the chicken to marinate for an hour to absorb the orange and spices added to it

Step 2

  • Place the marinated chicken pieces (still with the juice and spices) into the oven at 200 degrees or gas mark 6, for 1 hour

  • After 30 minutes turn the chicken pieces so that it does not burn

  • Allow the chicken to cook through and the juices to reduce

Step 3

For the spiced rice

  • Wash the rice in a large pot and fill half of the it with water

  • Add salt and oil to the water and give it a stir to dissolve the salt

  • Place the pot over high heat

  • Allow the water to boil until the rice becomes par boiled

  • Remove from the heat

  • Drain the water from the rice

  • Chop the onion into slivers and fry till golden brown

  • Place the rice in a large bowl and add the spices, nuts, barberries (washed), fried onions and orange blossom or orange peel (see step 4)

  • Gently mix and set aside

Step 4

If you are using orange peel carry out the following:

  • Take the peel of the 4 oranges you used

  • Add the orange peel to a saucepan

  • Add 1 1/2 cup of water to the orange peel

  • Place over high heat and allow to boil, this process is to remove the bitterness from the peel

  • Boil for 5 minutes

  • Remove from the heat

  • Remove all the water from the peel, usually best to use a flour sieve or a small tea strainer

  • Add to the rice

Step 5

  • In a large pot add the oil

Note: At this stage you can also add slices of potato at the bottom of your pot before you add the rice on top.

  • Add the rice

  • Cover the top of your pot and allow the rice to steam for 30 to 45 minutes over low heat

Step 6

For the garnish

  • Sprinkle with rose petals and extra pistachio and almond slivers and any left over orange peel or orange blossom

Christmas Persian Orange Glazed Chicken and Festive Persian Rice
Christmas Persian Orange Glazed Chicken and Festive Persian Rice

Enjoy this beautiful dish on this festive occasion. Noosh-e-Jaan :)

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