Tuesday 3 December 2013

Chalk Paint, and Tahchin Morg: Persian, Saffron baked rice with chicken

Things are bit upside down. It all started with some pre-house-sale tweeking and ended with us repainting a whole room, floors and all. We even made a trip to Annie Sloan's shop to buy some chalk paint

We're now experimenting with chalk paint and beeswax. I'll let you know how we get on.  Or if you don't hear anything, you'll realise that it's a skill that requires a bit more expertise than we possess. 

The hard work is almost over. Now for the fun part, the dressing. A' calls it the playing, and says that I always start playing before we've actually finished the painting. 

As the contents of our bedroom are currently shared between the other two, we're camping on the sofa bed in the living room each night, which is fun, except that we end up watching TV in bed until 2 am and wake exhausted next day. This higgeldy piggeldy existence has resulted in a slightly more hap-hazzard approach to food preparation than usual.  There've been lots of healthy homemade soups and warm salads, teas, coffees and the odd take-away. But last night I realised a little more effort was required and decided to make Tahchin Morgh, Persian rice, baked with chicken in a marinade of yoghurt, beaten eggs and saffron. 

It's a slow process but the preparation is minimal. The overnight marinating process does most of the work for you.  
You simply poach chicken portions in salt and water with a finely sliced white onion, for twenty minutes or so, until just tender. Drain and cool, then marinate over night in a  yoghurt,saffron, egg mixture. The following day you cook some rice in salted water until al dente. Drain and rinse in cold water. Combine it with the chicken/marinade mixture. Then finally turn it into an oven proof dish, covering it with a lid or foil, and bake in a hot oven for two hours. 

By this time the rice and chicken should be tender with a crunchy outer crust. You then remove the lid and pop in a few cubes of butter, or non-dairy alternative, cover and leave it to melt. Then take the lid off, place a large upturned serving plate on top, hold tight and turn the pan upside down, so that the rice tips out and you have what looks like a golden, saffron rice castle, in the middle of your plate. 

Here are the quantities:
  • 1 lb/5900g Basmati rice, rinsed until the water runs clear. This may take six or seven rinses or even longer. 
  • 250g of chicken breasts or portions
  • Sea salt to taste
  • One medium sized white onion
  • 6oz/180g natural yoghurt
  • 2 medium free range eggs
  • 3 to 6 teaspoons liquid saffron or a few strands of dry saffron
  • Butter or dairy alternative
This is a great dish to make when entertaining because you can prepare it well in advance and keep it warm for ages in the oven until required. It also looks quite impressive when served up. Although not the traditional way to serve it, we like it with either this or this Indian lime pickle. 


  1. I know your painting will be just grand. I painted my kitchen and breakfast nook with chalk paint mixed into plaster. After the paint dried I came back and rubbed the walls with a mixture of glaze and bees wax, it took weeks, but to this day I still love it.

  2. Thanks for that information Tracey. We've done the chalk paint bit but tomorrow will begin the beeswax part. It's nice that your happy with the results.
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Can you come and paint here?? We have yet to paint because we can't agree on a color. I know it's going to look fabulous. Great dinner dish again thanks!

  4. But of course. Fortunately when it comes to colour choice A and I have similar taste...we usually go for cool greys and subtle greens, colours from nature. But sometimes I think it's good to live in a house for a little while until you decide what works best. So far it seems to be going ok.
    We won't want to leave when it's done!
    Thanks Karen.