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Home > Recipes > Khoresh-e Aloo Esfenaj

Khoresh-e Aloo Esfenaj

From Hami Sharafi

  • 61 - 90 Minutes
  • Medium
  • Serves 4

Khoresh-e Aloo Esfenaj is a mouthwatering Persian stew with golden sour prunes and spinach that has a subtle sweet and sour taste.




  • 400g Tilda Pure Basmati dry rice
  • 500g chicken breast
  • 500g baby spinach
  • 8 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 10 golden sour prunes (Aloo Bokhara)
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp + 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp saffron, ground
  • 3 ice cubes



  1. Sprinkle the ground saffron over the ice cubes in a glass. Set them aside to melt, preferably in a warm place.

  2. Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic cloves.

  3. Cut the chicken breast into approx. 3 cm or just over 1-inch large cubes.

  4. Sear the chicken breast in about 3 tbsp of vegetable oil over medium to high heat from all sides until golden brown.

  5. Remove the chicken from the pan and transfer the finely chopped onion to the same pan with the same oil. Add more vegetable oil, if needed. Sauté the onion over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Then add the chopped garlic and sauté both together for a further 3 minutes.

  6. Add the turmeric and black pepper to the onion and garlic. Transfer the chicken back to the pan if it has a lid. Alternatively, transfer everything to a pot with a lid. Add the golden sour prunes and combine everything well. Then cover all the ingredients with 500ml of freshly boiled water. Now season with 1/2 tsp salt, sugar, lemon juice and 2 tsp of the saffron water. Once the stew is simmering, reduce the temperature to something between low and medium. Put the lid on and let it simmer for 1 hour.

  7. Transfer the Tilda Pure Basmati dry rice to a bowl or strainer and wash it until the draining water runs almost clear. Bring a pot full of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt to it.

  8. Add the washed rice to the boiling water and bring it back to boiling as soon as possible. Let the rice parboil for 3 minutes, then drain the cooking water and rinse the rice with cool water.

  9. Combine some of the parboiled rice with a few teaspoons of saffron water until it is evenly yellow.

  10. Add enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of a non-stick pot. Place it over medium heat and add the saffron rice to it. Spread it evenly across the bottom of the pot, then add the remaining parboiled rice on top.

  11. Poke three holes halfway through the rice with the back of a spoon. Cover the lid with a clean kitchen towel and close it firmly. Reduce the temperature to low and let the rice steam for 45 minutes without taking the lid off.

  12. Once the stew has been simmering for 30 minutes, sauté the spinach in 2 tbsp of vegetable oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes until it wilts and its colour darkens.

  13. Add the sautéed spinach to the stew. You may need to add a little more freshly boiled water if it has become too dry. Combine everything well and let the Aloo Esfenaj simmer for the remaining cooking time

  14. Once the rice has steamed for 45 minutes, remove the lid and replace it with an upside-down plate. Carefully flip it over. Remove the crispy tahdig to serve separately. Combine part of the rice with the remaining saffron water once again. Plate up the fluffy, white rice and arrange the golden saffron rice on top. Serve the Khoresh-e Aloo Esfenaj with aromatic Persian saffron rice and crispy tahdig. Enjoy!