WHAT IS ZERESHK POLLOW?
It is a rice that eats like a meal! Zereshk or barberries is the key ingredient in this rice dish. Recipes like this one that comprise layered meat, vegetables or fruits date back thousands of years to the Persian Empire. They were brought to India by the Mughal princes in the 16th century. Over time they became the precursor for the popular Indian dish biryani. These dishes were often elaborate to prepare, with a lot of attention given to appearance. Dried fruit, caramelized onions, herbs and candied citrus peel are often used in Persian versions. This version uses zereshk or barberries which stud the rice like small rubies. Because the dish so beautiful it is often used for special occasions like the Persian New Year.
SUGGESTIONS WHEN MAKING ZERESHK POLLOW
- Try the Persian Rice Method
The Persian method of making rice calls for soaking the rice and then steaming it. This allows each grain to remain elongated and separated. If prepared correctly, the rice will yield a golden crust called tah digh, which is a delicacy on any Persian table. Serve the tah digh with a small garnishment of the barberry mixture.
- Where Can I Find Barberries?
Once rarely found in the United States, barberries are imported by a number of companies and can usually be found in Middle Eastern groceries or online at specialty stores like Kalustyans or amazon.com.
- Soaking Barbarian Berries?
Barberries are dried so they need to be soaked briefly in hot water before cooking. Do not soak them too long or their flavor and color will seep into the soaking water.
WHAT PAIR WELL WITH ZERESHK POLLOW?
Barberries are also extremely sour so sugar is necessary for this dish but experiment with an amount that suits your taste. When preparing the orange peel, be sure you have removed all the white pitch from the peel before julienning—otherwise the end result will be bitter. Regarding beverages, either go strong with a beer or brown liquor. Wine pairings here are tricky at best, so test what you’d like to pair your Zereshk with before serving. (written by Chef Stef)