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Barberries are incredibly useful things to have in the pantry - sprinkle them on to a dish of rice or couscous or strew over pot-roasted chicken, and they'll bring a burst of gorgeous colour and an explosion of tart flavor. These little red jewels are an important ingredient in Persian cooking, and you're most likely to see them in a Middle Eastern supermarket, where they may be labelled under their Persian name, zereshk.

One of my family friends introduced me to this dish, I fell in love, & took the recipe from her. The first time I made it, it didn't come out right. I played with the recipe, added a little, and perfected the recipe and have been making it ever since! Just the right mix of sweet and sour!


  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin medium size pieces

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 2 tspns saffron (flat), divided

  • 3/4 cup chicken broth

  • 1/2 cup mazola

  • 1/3 cup lemon juice

  • 1 clove garlic, squeezed

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 pack dried barberries

  • 1/2 stick butter

  • 2 tspns sugar

  • 1 handful dried sour cherries (Trader Joe's)


  1. Preheat oven to 350•F.

  2. Beat 1/2 the saffron with a mortar and pestle. Add 1/2 cup water. Mix well.

  3. Put chicken in baking dish. Add saffron mixture, onion, chicken broth, mazola, salt, pepper, garlic, and lemon juice. Mix well.

  4. Cook uncovered for 1 hour at 350•F.

  5. Meanwhile, melt butter in a pot. Add barberries (zereshk), dries cherries, sugar, and the remaining saffron (beat and desolved in 1/2 cup boiling water). Mix well over heat for 2-3 minutes.

  6. When the hour is over, remove chicken from oven, add barberry mixture in and mix with the liquid in the pirex. Cover and cook another 45 minutes at 400•F.

  7. Turn off, mix, and serve with Crispy Persian Rice.

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #EATDRINKPLAYLA. I'd love to see how yours turned out!

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