Barbecue chicken Bakhtiari is a unique lemon (Citrus) flavored charcoal essence Farsi style BBQ recipe, which is commonly served during iftar in traditional and modern day Iranian homes. In our household, owing to schedules, we don’t get to spend much of iftar time at home together. So when we could, we make it extra special by cooking things up all together in the kitchen and then serving and enjoying it later at iftar. You may also use this BBQ recipe for lamb and beef. Alternatively, you could also put the chicken in parts onto skewers if you like. Commonly this BBQ dish gets served with traditional fluffy Iranian style rice cooked with a slight zesty taste of saffron. I must also apologize to all my dearest Malaysian cyber friends for not using Bahasa Melayu (my mother-tongue) when writing this up, as several of my non BM speaking friends have requested for this recipe as well, and in particular dearest Abby, I thought might as well just put it in English for all :)
Serves 5 (*leftovers can be made into sandwiches )
1 whole chicken wash and dry.
For the marinade:
1 liter freshly squeezed lemon juice (I use the citrus variant)
Slices of lemon to rub on the chicken
4 table spoon of finely ground saffron (mixed with lemon juice)
4 large onions, finely chopped
8 cloves garlic, finely mashed
1 spoon full of thyme finely pounded
1 spoon full of rosemary finely pounded
a few strands of saffron finely pounded
4 table spoon of Dijon mustard (I prefer Dijon, but just any kind of mustard will do)
Salt and pepper to taste
How to make BBQ chicken Bakhtiari:
Mix the finely grounded saffron with the lemon juice until it is a thick consistency then add to the rest of the marinade ingredients and mix well.
Rub the chicken with the slices of lemon to tenderize the skin then cover chicken with the marinade and leave in the fridge overnight or for 12 hours roughly. The Dijon mustard which is particularly strong and pungent would usually be able to seep into the fowl flesh structure faster than any other kind of mustard I have tried with before.Try not to rub any salt on the chicken’s outer skin as salt under heat would produce dryness, try rubbing the salt inside and within the chicken’s inner section instead. Then pour melted ghee and rub over chicken skin so that it becomes crispy under heat.
Put the chickens on metal dish (or metal skewers) and cook over a medium-hot charcoal grill or a hibachi. But I just use my kitchen oven as it has the ability for an even and near mesquite quality roasting, and basically I prefer electric over charcoal nowadays. Dress cooked dish with grilled tomato, potato and bits of fresh mint leaves.
Farsi rice has always been known to be almost totally starch free and aromatic. I have included below a simple recipe. Only that I have added ghee to the recipe for taste. Originally butter would be use instead of ghee but my kids prefer ghee over butter and so I substituted the two.
Properly wash the Basmathee (4 cups) in tap cold water and drain. In a skillet add 5 spoon full of ghee/butter and 1 or 2 tea spoon of sugar and fry for a couple of minutes. But do not let the sugar turns to brown; suffice for it to just melt over as we would want the rice texture to be yellowish and slightly golden later.
In a small bowl add 1 or 2 tea spoon of finely grounded saffron with lukewarm water and mix well then add in the uncooked rice. Immediately boil the rice with mixture, let it cook then add in the ghee and sugar which you have fried in the skillet earlier. The taste should ideally be very rich and creamy, slightly neutral in sweetness (not totally bland or sweet) and slightly saffron smelling. The color should be slightly yellowish resembling gold. That’s it, serve for iftar. Enjoy! :)