Asia: Azerbaijani Azerbaijanian or Azeri Parcha-Dosheme Plov (Rice Pilaf with Chicken)
3 cups long-grain white basmati rice
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup peeled chestnuts
1⁄2 cup pitted dried apricot, halved
1 cup barberries
1⁄2 cup pitted dates
1⁄2 cup golden raisen
1 1⁄2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 medium onion, peeled, cut in half lengthways, then thinly sliced in half-circles
1⁄3 teaspoon ground saffrod threads dissolved in 3 tbsp hot water
ground black pepper
Rinse the rice in lukewarm water until the water runs clear.
Fill a large bowl with lukewarm water and a tablespoon of salt and add the rice. Soak for 15 minutes or so.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the peeled chestnuts and stir-fry for 3 minutes.
Add the apricots, barberries and dates. Keep cooking for another three minutes. Lastly add the golden raisins and stir fry for one more minute. Remove from heat.
Put 10 cups of salted water in a large pot. Drain the rice and add to the pot. Boil for 7 to 10 minutes. The rice is done when it rises to the top of the pot. Don’t overcook! The rice should be just a tiny bit chewy, not too soft. Bite a piece to make sure. Drain it in a colander and set aside.
Melt a tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Put the uncooked chicken cubes in the bottom of the pot, distributing evenly. Add about a half teaspoon of salt and some pepper. Cover the chicken with the sliced onions and simmer for three minutes or so.
Cover the chicken and onions with half of the rice. Spread the fruit and nut mixture out on top and then put the rest of the rice on top of that. Pour a tablespoon of melted butter on top.
Put a clean dishtowel or two layers of paper towel over the pot. Be very careful to fold up the corners or otherwise make certain that the dishtowel or paper towel is nowhere near the flame.
Put the stockpot lid on top of the towe and turn the heat down to low. Cook for 30 minutes, without stirring or disturbing it in any way.
Combine the crushed saffron threads with three tablespoons of hot water. Stir until the water turns a deep orange. Pour the saffron water over the top of the plov and continue to cook for another 30 minutes.
WHEN THE PLOV IS DONE, IT SHOULD LOOK LIKE THIS:
Fluffy rice with separate grains
The meat should have a golden crust on the bottom.
The onion should be translucent (almost invisible).
Scoop it all out of the pot and arrange it on a big platter. It’s ready to serve.