SHIRIN POLO = Tadig – Crusted Rice with Marinated Chicken

SHIRIN POLO is an offering from my friend Alan who is an all around outgoing and talented person, who can cook like a wizard.

This is a tow-day recipe, which Alan made. I collaborated with Alan on organizing and editing the recipes. Whew! Questions, phone calls and emails back and forth sorted everything out. I can only look at the photos and appreciate the imagined smell-sensations.

SHIRIN POLO Recipe and photos by Alan Halm

Shirin means sweet and Polo means rice in Farsi. This Persian cooking  rice recipe tradition has many ways to make it with different ingredients. The orange zest is as important as the rice for the flavor is the saffron. This is Alan rendition of the Shirin Polo recipe with chicken. Looks delicious and a real slow food recipe for sure! It’s -20F today. This would be a great meal in this cold weather.


For the Chicken Marinade

4-5 Chicken Thighs

Juice of ½ of an orange (Save the skin)

1- lemon – juice and zest

1- lime – juice and zest

1 medium yellow onion finely chopped

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

For Orange Zest

3 oranges – zest

1 cup plus

2 tbsp sugar

For Carrots

2 – 3 medium carrots

1- tbsp of butter

For Rice

2 cups (or ½ cup more) for each additional person

2 tbsp of salt



1- 6 oz package of shelled, salted, pistachios

1-tbsp Saffron threads



Prepare a day ahead:

Chicken Marinade

  • 1 chicken thigh per person (This recipe calls for 4 – 5)
  • Juice of ½ orange (save zest for use later)
  • Zest and juice of:
    • 1 lemon
    • 1 lime
  • 1 medium or small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper (about 1 teaspoon each)
  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl and cover to marinate overnight in fridge.

Orange Zest

  • Cut the zest of 3 oranges into very thin strips about 3 inches long
  • Place in saucepan and cover with water, bring to boil.
  • Boil for 5 minutes and drain.
  • The boil and Drain.
  • Add 1cup water, and 2 tablespoons sugar (or a little more). Boil for 10 mins. Don’t drain. Save liquid for later.
  • Store covered overnight in fridge.


  • Cut 2 – 3 medium carrots into very thin matchsticks, also about 3 inches long.
  • Sautee carrots in about a tablespoon of butter for 5 mins. Store covered overnight in fridge.


  • Rinse 2 cups of Basmati Rice until water is clear (add ½ cup more) for each additional person. (2-cup recipe is for 4 – 5) 

    Add 2 tablespoons salt and cover with water. Soak overnight in fridge.

Next Day (Serving Day):

Have on hand a 6 ounce package of shelled, salted, pistachios to layer with the rice later.

Prepare Saffron

  • Boil or microwave 2 tablespoons water, remove from heat, then add a very generous pinch of Saffron threads, maybe up to a tablespoon of it.
  • When cool, strain out threads in a tea strainer.
  • Add about 1 – teaspoon of Rose Water, NO MORE! It is very strong and may overpower other flavors.
  • Before assembling the rice, drain liquid from orange zest and add to the Saffron water
  • Set aside.

Prepare Rice

  • Remove rice from fridge and drain off liquid. Rinse once.
  • Fill a 3-quart kettle with lots of water and 1- tablespoon salt. Bring to a rapid boil. Add rice.
  • When it returns to boil, cook for 4 – 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. NO MORE.
  • Drain in colander, and pour cold water over rice.
  • Drain well (but not too dry – maybe for 5 – 10 minutes or so.)

Assemble the Polo


Layer of rice and Carrots for Polo

  • In large heavy bottom soup pot (use the 3 – quart pot), melt a tablespoon of butter
    and cover bottom of pan. Remove from heat. [Can also substitute 2 tablespoons of oil]
  • Line the bottom of the pan with about an inch of rice. (When this browns in the cooking, it will be the crisp Tadig (crust) that is an essential part of the dish.)
  • Layer carrots, rice, orange zest, rice, pistachios, and repeat until a mound is formed and all ingredients are used.


    Layered Polo

  • Even the sides with a spatula and poke 5 holes from the top to the bottom of the mound with a spoon handle, enough for steam to work its way into the inside of the mound during cooking.

To Cook Polo

  • Cover with dampened dishtowel, place cover on pot, and fold corners over top of cover so the dishtowel will not burn.
  • Turn heat to medium; listen for rice to sizzle gently on bottom. If the rice is sizzling too much turn the heat down. Then steam for 40 minutes exactly. Do not peek!
  • Cook undisturbed. Any longer and the bottom may burn, ruining the Tadig (crust).


    Pan with Dishtowel

Meanwhile, pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Prepare Chicken to Cook

  • Heat a frying pan, using just a touch of butter. Remove chicken from marinade and shake off excess. Reserve the marinade.
  • Next brown chicken well on both sides. Finish in oven on a baking sheet for another ½ hour or so. Check to be sure that the meat is not red or pink inside.
  • Remove the chicken

Prepare Seasoned Sauce for Rice

  • Strain the liquid from the pan left from frying the chicken.  Skim off the fat. Then return the liquid to the pan. The liquid will help with reducing the fond – Sauce base
  • Then reduce the “fond” (the base) with about a ¼ cup of the marinade liquid. Reduce. Strain.
  • Add to Saffron/orange zest liquid water.
  • Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed. Should have about a 1/4 – 1/3 cup reduced liquid.
  • If you can’t taste the rose water, add just a little bit more to the liquid, just so there is a hint of the taste and aroma. Set aside for the final “act” of the recipe as follows:

Remove lid from rice and pour the Saffron reduction liquid over the rice. It should sizzle on the bottom. It should color the rice bright yellow-orange from the Saffron, and flavor it.

Pour rice onto large serving platter. Tadig or crust should just come out, or scrape it out. You can serve the Tadig with the rice or in a separate serving dish. Arrange chicken around the rice, or again, in a separate serving dish.

Serve with a green salad and any kind of Middle-eastern bread, such as warmed-up pita or Lavosh.

Nush-i-jun! (Persian for something like “Bon Appetit!”)

After a long hiatus, I’ll be bringing this to Fiesta Friday #153 with  co-hosts this week Quinn @ Dad What’s 4 Dinner and Monika @ Everyday Healthy Recipes

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen!

Happy Friday!fiesta-friday-badge-button-i-party


Posted in Poultry, Rice, Slow food and art in the kitchen | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Path – Daily Photo Challenge

Path The Daily Photo Challenge


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The paths photo challenge lets me share some of my travel and local photos. Here’s just a few from a larger collection of photos that I have made over the years.

Happy New Year!

May your path be a steady, happy way in 2017.

Thank you for stopping by my kitchen.



Posted in Art and Architecture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Cookies and Chocolate = Baking the Standard – There Will Be Butter

Toll House Cookies – The Toll House Inn of Whitman, Massachusetts, was established in 1930 by Terry and Ruth Graves Wakefield. Toll House chocolate chip cookies are named after the inn. – Retrieved December 22, 2016

The Chocolate Chip Cookie  invention reads like a marketing guru’s dream product. Ruth decided to use chocolate in her cookie recipe. She broke the chocolate into bits. Since she used Nestle chocolate and the cookies were a hit, she contacted the company. Ruth Wakefield proposed a deal to Nestle and what a deal! She would give them the recipe to put on their packages of chocolate in exchange for a lifetime supply of chocolate. (Sweet deal. sorry, couldn’t resist) Nestle went on to make the chocolate chips that bakers know and love and the recipe has been printed on the package ever since. (See the package for the recipe.)

So what’s that got to do with me? I mentioned before that I was not taught how to cook. I taught myself as adult. One way I learned about cookies was to make ‘pretty much’ all the cookies in the Joy of Cooking. Yup. Did that in Northern California, where it rains a lot and there was not much to do…but that’s another story.

My first and only batch of chocolate chip cookies came some years later. I used Ruth’s recipe in order to impress a guy. “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” was running through my mind as I was crushing heavily on this person.

The Chocolate Chip cookies were really delicious! (Thanks Ruth Graves Wakefield.)

My gesture did not get the desired response, when the person received them. In short, an old saying…is an old saying and not wisdom or truth.  Nonetheless, cookies are a good gift.

That is, how they say, the cookie crumbles. HA! This will be my second batch I ever made.


Chocolate Chip Cookies CKatt 2016


Thanks for stopping by my kitchen!

Have a peaceful week wherever you are…

| Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Horizons – Photo Challenge – Sunset Serenity

New Horizons Sunset Serenity


A lone woman peacefully contemplates sunset

This is what we both see

sunset over the changing sea

at days end

a moment of serenity



Thanks for stopping by my kitchen.

Have a peaceful day wherever you are.


Posted in Art and Architecture | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Winter Shoot = Snows Arrive -Photography

Winter Shoot

Snow came overnight,

After many grey days,

White fluff clings to branches

Surprises the last clinging leaves

of decorative trees.


Through the window

The peaceful scene

begins to compose.


Donning a warm sweater, jacket,

hat, gloves and grabbing the camera,

I leave the warmth,

For the handmade winter

Beckons me

To the city park a block away.


It’s colder than expected.

I have forgotten my scarf.

Excitement pushes me forward.


This is a light, wet snow – couple of inches.

It clings to the evergreens artfully.

I take off a glove to begin to shoot

The park benches are empty, but not forlorn.

Their flirty colors still show, like a colorful petticoat

under the snow.


The misty, grey sky washes out the world,

Of the footpaths, the trees, and snow.

As I reach a small rise

Another human appears, a silhouette

in a parka and heavy boots,

Holding a very still pose

that I recognize and, from a distance,

a vague shape of a camera.

She moves among the trees, but gives up

And leaves because of the cold.


I wander toward the tall trees

Where a few birds perch

on the very top branches.


Zoom in for a shot and the camera stops…

The cold that nips my ungloved hand

Is slowing the camera down.

Some larger birds arrive.

The glove goes back on

I clasp the small camera between my hands

Watching and waiting –

me and the birds.


Once more zoom in and click, click.

They fly off…

When suddenly two large flocks of birds descend

And a chorus of song arises in the treetops –

A choir of joy!


For the finale, as one, the hundreds take flight

In a graceful curve, they head away from me

Then swoop back in an S-curve,

over the spot where I stand


I watch, shooting forgotten,

Not separate from flight by a lens

My spirit rises.


(I am sorry that I cannot share the video of the birds’ song on my blog.)

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen.

So many people have stopped by to find a recipe or see my photos and read my poems this year. You give me the worlds that I would never see or know. With a grateful heart I wish you a happy season wherever you may be.


The birds begin to gather together and sing

Posted in Art and Architecture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments