Saffron Yogurt Rice With Chicken, Spinach, and Prunes

A variety of Persian spices liven up the flavor in this easy-to-make dish.

How to Make Saffron Yogurt Rice with Chicken, Spinach and Prunes
Courtesy Image

This creative spin on the classic chicken and rice combination uses delicious Persian spices and prunes (otherwise known as dried plums) for an outstanding flavor you’ll be craving throughout the week.

Nutrition (per 1 cup serving)

Calories: 225; total fat: 6g; saturated fat: 1g; protein: 10g; carbohydrates: 34g; sugar: 6g; fiber: 3g; cholesterol: 29mg; sodium: 334mg

Recipe and photo by Roxana Begum, R.D. of The Delicious Crescent.

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Prep time

45 min.

Cook time

120 min.

  • 1 ½ lbs chicken, cut up
  • 1 large onion, sliced thin
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp Persian spice mix (Advieh) or any other mixed spice
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp saffron, ground and dissolved in 3 Tbsp hot water
  • 3 Tbsp, plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 lb frozen chopped spinach (or 2lbs fresh spinach)
  • ¼ lb fresh spinach, for garnish
  • 2 cups basmati rice or brown basmati rice
  • 1 cup pitted prunes
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice

Place the chicken, ½ the sliced onion, 1 grated garlic clove, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, ½ teaspoon Persian mixed spice, ½ teaspoon turmeric in a cooking pot, and mix well. Add half cup water, and cook over medium heat for about 45 minutes to one hour until well done. (Alternatively, it can be baked for one hour in an ovenproof dish without the addition of water as the chicken will release its own juices while baking.)

Drain any water or juices from the cooked chicken very well, and set aside. The drained stock can be used to add to other stews or soups.

Once the chicken is cooled well, add yogurt and one tablespoon saffron water. Mix well, and marinate from 1 hour to overnight.

In a skillet, heat one tablespoon of oil, and sauté the remaining sliced onion and grated garlic clove.