[Video courtesy of My Ghost Host and Cook For Iran (both on Instagram)]
In the eastern part of Mazandaran, Iran, there was a small restaurant run by Ali Akbar Kalbadi. He served lunch to the travelers and truckers who crossed the Gelogah county. His specialty was a chicken dish that he invented, which soon became famous among the locals and the visitors. They named it “Akbar Joojeh” after its creator, and they also called the restaurant by that name. The popularity of Akbar Joojeh spread far and wide, and now it has branches in the US, Canada, and Persian Gulf States.
Written Recipe courtesy of Hafez Persian Restaurant
Akbar Joojeh Ingredients:
- Black pepper
- Lemon juice
- Pomegranate paste
Akbar Joojeh recipe:
- Skin and wash the chicken. Cut the chicken into two or several parts. You can cut or leave the wings.
- Marinating the chicken is one of the most important parts. You need a large bowl to do so. Cut the onion and add them to the bowl. Then add the peeled and chopped garlic to it. Don’t worry about its trace as there will nothing left after the cooking.
You can grain the garlic too, choices yours. You could pick red pepper instead of black; it’s up to your taste. However, the original recipe recommends black pepper.
- Add lemon juice and the brewed saffron. They will make the meat tender and yummy.
- Now, mix all the added ingredients in the bowl of pomegranate paste with your hands. This is why you should get a large bowl so you can mix the ingredients well. Do it as long as you can; the final taste depends on how fine you marinate. Leave the bowl in a fridge for 12- 24 hours. It’s up to the time you have; the longer, the better.
- It would be better to remove the chicken from the fridge at least 15 minutes before cooking. Pour oil into a large enough pot and put it on the stove. When the oil is hot, put the chicken parts in the pot. It would be better to remove the onion parts from the chicken. They will burn and give an annoying smell.
Wait until the color changes, lower the heat, and put the lid on. You need to flip the chicken parts, be careful not to burn them. They should cook for 20-30 minutes.
- During the last 2-3 minutes, add salt and melt the butter while the chicken is frying. Stir-frying a few minutes with butter would give the chicken an amazing taste.
- Now, your Akbar Joojeh is ready to be served. You can have it traditionally with saffron rice or with bread.