When I was in my very early teens, my summer job for several years was to help out around my father’s architectural studio. I answered phones, made blueprints, figured out how to use workable fixatif to make postage stamps reusable (not that I actually reused any, because that would be a felony), and learned some Farsi. There were two Persian architects who also worked in the studio, Kathy and Mohsen. I was intrigued by their Post-It notes written in Farsi. Noticing my curiosity, they bought me a Farsi reader, taught me the alphabet and the first few pages, and I was off on my own.
This summer, when Naz Deravian reached out to me about her first cookbook, Bottom of the Pot: Persian Recipes and Stories, I told her how happy I was to see a new book about Persian food. After a few emails, we discovered that we both had in common living in Italy (though now she lives in Los Angeles) and learning from the same Farsi reader! I am beyond thrilled to share her recipe for Tahcheen-e Morgh, or Baked Saffron Yogurt Rice with Chicken. It is a baked dish which is crispy on the outside and moist on the inside, layered with juicy chicken and saffron rice. With the barberries and pistachios on top and the golden color imparted by the saffron, the dish makes a stunning impact with minimal effort. —Kristina
For a chance to win a copy of Bottom of the Pot: Persian Recipes and Stories, respond to the following question in the comments section below by October 5th, 5PM. What culture/country did you dream about most as a child, and why? Was it inspired by a family trip? Maybe it was that International Day in sixth grade when you were assigned Greece and had to make baklava? Or model UN when you and your friends dressed up like the Italian flag with green turtlenecks, white cummerbunds and red skirts? The winner will be announced in the comments section, so be sure to check in again!
About Naz: Naz Deravian is a writer and actor born in Iran, who grew up in Italy and Canada and now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children. She is the award-winning voice behind the food blog Bottom of the Pot, which won the 2015 IACP Award for best culinary blog. She has also been twice nominated in several categories for the Saveur Food Blog Awards. Naz has been profiled in The New York Times, Sunset magazine, and Condé Nast Traveler, among others.
Image above: Saffron threads, diluted in water. All images by Eric Wolfinger.
Image above: Bottom of the Pot
Image above: Naz Deravian
Image above: Dried fruits, including barberries
Image above: Tahcheen-e Morgh (Baked Saffron Yogurt Rice with Chicken)
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