Baked Iranian Berry Pulao

Shortly after we returned to India from our stint in Dubai, we were pleasantly surprised with the array of cuisines available at the Cyber Hub in Gurgaon and in particular the Soda Bottle Openerwala restaurant which soon became a happy hunting ground for us. This is where I first came across the Berry Pulao. As the name suggests, this aromatic dish traces its roots back to Persia. This is a dish cooked in ghee using caramelized onions, cranberries, saffron and nuts. This makes the Pulao really exotic. I have done a fusion of the berry pulao with the Persian Tachin Rice, which is a baked saffron rice preparation. The difference when it comes to the recipe is that this dish gets baked before it is served unlike the Berry Pulao. Originally this pulao needs the Zereshk berries but these are difficult to find in this part of the world, so I have used cranberry instead. This does make the dish a tad sweet compared to original sweet and tangy flavour of the Zereshk but honestly I was happy with the end result. I must caveat that cooking this dish is slightly cumbersome as there are many steps but once you get a hang of it, things get better from a time and efficiency point of view. The end result is definitely worth it! This is a meal by itself but can also be served with Parsi Salli Murgh to make it a perfect match for that special occasion or while entertaining guests. So do give this fusion dish a try and Happy Fooding Around.



Baked Iranian Berry Pulao

  • Author: Reetika Mitra
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 60 mins
  • Total Time: 1 Hr 20 mins


An ExoticTaste of Persia



Ingredients for the Iranian Spice Mix Advieh  :

  • 1 ½ Tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1 Tbsp Coriander seeds
  • 1 inch stick Cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp chopped Nutmeg
  • 56 green Cardamom
  • 1 black Cardamom
  • 1 large pinch of Saffron
  • 78 Iranian Rose buds (well, honestly I used our Indian variety)
  • 1 ½ Tbsp Sugar

Ingredients for the Sweet Saffron Water  :

  • ¼ cup water
  • A heavy pinch of high quality Saffron
  • 1½ Tsp Sugar

Ingredients for the Barista :

  • 1 full cup sliced Onion
  • 23 Tbsp vegetable Oil

Ingredients for the Berry Mix  :

  • 3 Tbsp Butter
  • ½ cup Cranberries (fresh or dry)
  • 810 Cashew whole nuts
  • ½ cup  blanched and peeled Pistachio slivers
  • 1 ½ cups of sliced onions, fried in oil into crispy Barsita
  • 1 Tbsp Rose water
  • 1 Tbsp sweet saffron water

Ingredients for the Chicken  :

  • 500 gms of Chicken Mince
  • ½ cup sliced Onion
  • 23 Green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 Tsp Garlic paste
  • 1 Tsp Ginger paste
  • 4 tbsp Ghee (Clarified Butter)
  • 2 Tbsp Advieh Spice Mix
  • 1 cup Tomato Puree
  • 1 Tsp Sugar
  • ¾ cup Water
  • Salt to taste

Ingredients for the Rice:

  • 2 cups long grained Basmati Rice
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Ghee
  • 2 egg yolks (Optional)
  • ¾ cup Greek Yoghurt or thick curd
  • A heavy pinch of Saffron


Instruction for the Iranian Spice Mix Advieh  :

  1. Add all the ingredients under Iranian Spice mix in a grinder jar and grind to a fine powder.

Instruction for the Sweet Saffron Water  :

  1. Add In a pan add the water, sugar and saffron strands. Bring to boil. Mix well and switch off flame as soon as the sugar dissolves completely. Transfer to a bowl.

Instruction for the Barista  :

  1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high. Add the sliced onions and saute frequently till they turn golden brown in colour. Drain and take off. Keep them ready for the final assembly.

Instruction for the Assembling Berry Mix :

  1. Melt the butter over medium heat in a pan. Add the Cranberries, blanched pistachios, whole cashew nuts and the onion barista. Toss for 1 minute or until the cranberries plump up. Remove else the cranberries will shrivel quickly. Now add the rose water and the sweet saffron water. Mix well.

Instruction for preparing the Chicken Mince :

  1. In a heavy bottom pan heat 4 tbsp ghee over medium heat. Add the ½ cup sliced onion and stir for a bit. Now add 2-3 finely chopped green chillies and 1 tsp garlic paste. Saute over medium -low flame for another 2 mins before adding the chicken mince. Saute and stir for 3 -4 mins before adding the tomato puree, salt to taste.
  2. After cooking for 5 mins add 2 tbsp of the Iranian spice mix. Add ¾ cup water to the chicken mince and cook till the chicken mince is done and is semi- dry in texture.
  3. At this stage oil starts separating from the sides, add 1 Tsp of sugar and adjust the salt according to taste.

Instruction for the Rice:

  1. Bring water to boil in a large pot. Add the rice and the salt. Cook for 3 -5 mins or until the rice is 85 -90% cooked. Drain and leave it open to dry. Keeping the rice open will also stop the rice from getting steam cooked further.
  2. Pre heat oven to 180° C or 350 ° F
  3. Mix yoghurt, oil, egg yolks and the sweet saffron water in a large bowl. Add rice in parts and stir to infuse the yoghurt-egg-saffron mixture thoroughly into the rice.

Instruction for the Layered Rice – Chicken Bake :

  1. Lightly grease a baking dish. Pour 1/3rd the rice into the pie dish. Layer it with ½  the chicken mince. Top it up with 1/3rd  of the berry mix. Repeat the layers once more starting with the second 1/3rd rice,  the remaining ½ of the chicken mince and 1/3rd of the berry mix.
  2. One very imp tip is to keep pressing down the layers so that they sit firmly and tightly in the baking dish.
  3. Now layer it with the remaining last 1/3rd of the rice, which as the final layer. Keep aside the last remaining 1/3rd berry mix for garnishing later on.
  4. Press down firmly and cover with foil.
  5. Bake for about 50 – 60 mins or until the crust is evenly golden brown all over.
  6. Take out from the oven and rest for 10 mins. Remove foil and place on a serving plate and flip upside down.
  7. Garnish with the remaining reserved nut-berry mix. Can also add finely chopped parsley (or even coriander).


  • Serving Size: 5 -6


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