See How To Do It

She insisted - it has to be basmati rice. Below is the rice she likes to use. It's marked "basmati sela" which means it's been parboiled. This helps the grains not stick together and stay nice and separate. She soaks the rice in luke warm salt water for 2-3 hours before cooking.  She insists the salt water helps the grains not break when cooking. Then she boils the rice like pasta for ten minutes, strains it, and steams it in a pot with the lid on. 

Now starting the chicken dish, saute the onions in oil and then add the chicken pieces.

She grinds her saffron threads into a powder with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder and a little sugar to help with the grinding. She gets the most flavor out of the saffron this way, which is important because it's arguably the most expensive spice in the world.

 Saffron needs to steep in hot water for about twenty minutes to maximize its flavor release.

Pomegranate molasses (below) is pomegranate juice cooked down into a syrup. It's sour, sweet, and almost black. Here she pours into the pot with the chicken and lots of ground walnuts.

Here is a picture of the label so you can look for it in Middle Eastern markets. 

She adds a bit of saffron powder to the walnut chicken, and saves the small dish of steeping saffron for coloring the rice.

She lines the bottom of the rice pot with oil and potatoes so they fry and get golden and crunchy.

Here she is piling the rice that's been boiled for 10 minutes and strained back into the pot over the oil and potatoes.

She nestles that bowl of steeping saffron on top of the rice to keep the saffron warm, which helps it release its flavor.

Here is her version of Shirazi salad - cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce (which is not usually in there, she says,) with sumac, dried mint, salt, pepper, lime and olive oil.

Once the rice has steamed with the lid on, she mounds it up on a serving platter.

She fills the small dish of steeping saffon with rice. And then spreads the saffron-soaked rice all over the top of the mound, making it gorgeous!

Here's the whole spread clockwise from left: the saffron rice, Shirazi salad, the tadic (the crunchy rice and potatoes from the bottom of the pot) and the chicken in walnut sauce.

Photos copyright Lindsay Sterling. 
Permission required for use.