Chosen Bites: Sophisticated, simple Persian delicacies

To get into the spirit of the Purim story chef Laura Frankel offers some recipes with bright flavors and seasonal ingredients.

Sweet and Sour Carrot Khoresh
Persian food is all about fresh bright flavors and seasonal ingredients. This dish is a snap to put together and makes a beautiful healthy meal. A Khoresh is part stir-fry and part stew and changes with the seasons. The bright flavors and freshness really shine with this springy dish.
-Olive oil-1 large Spanish onion, sliced thinly-3 cloves garlic, minced-1 pound skinless chicken breasts or turkey breast, sliced into julienne-4 large carrots, peeled and sliced thinly-1 teaspoon advieh*-Persian spice mix-½ teaspoon saffron threads-¼ cup sugar-½ cup fresh lime juice-2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses-1 cup pitted prunes-2 cups chicken stock-¼ cup chopped fresh mint-¼ cup chopped fresh parsley-¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1. Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Lightly coat the pan with olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until the onion has caramelized and is golden brown (about 7 minutes). Add the garlic and continue cooking 2 more minutes.
2. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and cook until the chicken has lightly browned (about 5 minutes).
3. Add the advieh, saffron threads, sugar, lime juice, pomegranate molasses, prunes and chicken stock. Cover, reduce the heat to medium low and allow the mixture to cook until the chicken is cooked through and the carrots are soft (about 25-30 minutes).
4. Add the fresh herbs and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.5. Serve with saffron rice.
I had problems finding dried rose petals that were not sprayed with pesticides. If you have the same problem-add ½1/2 teaspoon of rose water to the sauté pan while cooking and the flavor will be wonderful.
-2 tablespoons dried rose petals
-2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
-2 tablespoons ground cardamom
-1 tablespoon ground cumin
Mix the ground spices and the rose petals. Store covered at room temperature for up to 3 months.
Saffron Rice
Serves 4-5
I love this crispy textured rice dish. The rice is cooked twice and develops a golden brown crust that is nutty flavored and very crunchy while the rice on the inside of the molded cake is soft, fluffy and fragrant.
-1 cup Basmati Rice
-1 teaspoon saffron threads
-Olive oil
-Garnishes: chopped dill, chopped mint, chopped pistachios and chopped almonds
Preheat oven to 350
1. Place the basmati rice and saffron in a medium sauce pan. Add 2 ½ cups of water, cover and simmer over medium heat until the rice is cooked through (about 20-25 minutes).
2.  Place a large sauté pan, generously coated with olive oil, over medium heat.
3. Scoop the cooked rice into the pan and pack the rice by pressing it firmly into the pan. Cover and bake in the preheated for 30 minutes until the rice has formed a crust. You can peek at the crust by gently pulling the rice away the side of the pan with a spatula.
4. Invert onto a platter and garnish with fresh herbs.
Chef Laura Frankel is Executive Chef for Spertus Kosher Catering and author of Jewish Cooking for All Seasons, and Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes.