Akbar Joojeh Recipe: The Secret to Authentic Persian Chicken

Akbar Joojeh Recipe

Akbar Joojeh Recipe

If you like jooje kabab, then most likely you will like this dish. This is a guide to describe the preparation of a traditional food recipe of the Mazandaran province in Iran, a dish from Akbar Joojeh. Small pieces of chicken cooked in saffron and pomegranate paste, buttery cream and its tanginess come together to bring out the best in the dish and deliver an exquisite culinary experience.

Akbar Joojeh Recipe


  • Small chicken: 1 kg
  • Medium onions: 2
  • Pomegranate paste: 1 cup
  • Butter: 100 grams
  • Ground saffron: 1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt: 2 teaspoons
  • Black pepper: 1 teaspoon
  • Vegetable oil: 5 tablespoons (reduced from 2 cups for a healthier option)

Step 1: Prepare the Chicken

Wash the chicken and pat dry. Cut it in half lengthwise with a sharp knife, but do not break the skin.

Step 2: Bloom the Saffron

Sprinkle some saffron on the ground into a small bowl. Add a cube of ice and let the ice cube melt while, at the same time, let the saffron bloom in order to release more color and aroma.

Step 3: Marinate with Onion Mixture

Coarsely chop the onions and transfer them to the large mixing bowl. Add salt, black pepper, and bloomed saffron. Mix all these well.

Step 4: Add Chicken to Marinade

Add the chicken halves to the onion mixture bowl. Ensure that the pieces are well coated with the marinade. Cover the bowl and then place the chicken in the refrigerator to marinate for at least an hour. Several hours will be even better to allow the flavor to develop nicely.

Step 5: Heat the Cooking Oil

Remove the chicken from the fridge and leave the marinade on the counter. Put vegetable oil in a large saucepan and heat it over medium heat. Then add the butter and cup of water, ensuring it has all melted before adding the chicken.

Step 6: Cook the Chicken

After melting the butter, add to the pan marinated pieces of chicken. Cover the pan with a lid, but not completely; let there be a slight opening left for steam and moisture not to be allowed to escape.

Step 7: Fry the Chicken

Allow each side to cook for 30-45 minutes over medium heat. The steam and frying effect will ensure the chicken cooks even throughout.

Step 8: Check for Doneness

30 minutes later, open the lid and look at the condition of the chicken. If the bottom is golden brown, then it’s time to turn the pieces over to fry the other side.

Step 9: Continue Frying

Turn the chicken over, replace the lid, and allow it to cook on the other side for 30 to 45 minutes. Regulate the heat if it is likely to burn.

Step 10: Drain Excess Oil

Once both sides are golden and the chicken is cooked through, remove the pieces from the pot. Place on a metal grid or rack and leave for the excess oil to drip away.

Step 11: Prepare the Pomegranate Sauce

As the chicken drains, prepare a pomegranate sauce: reduce pomegranate paste over low heat until lightly thickened. It is the one you are going to garnish with.

Step 12: Serve

Transfer the chicken to a serving platter, drizzle with some of the pomegranate sauce, and serve with fluffy basmati rice to complete the dish.

Notes on Choosing the Right Oil

If you are going to fry Akbar Joojeh, please choose a high-smoke-point frying oil. This is because this kind of oil is going to penetrate less through the chicken and can even bear the highest temperature required for frying, ensuring that the chicken is not soaked in oil and does not turn dark before getting cooked properly.

Recipe Summary

To prepare Akbar Joojeh, wash and halve a small chicken, ensuring that the skin is attached to both sides. Bloom some ground saffron in water with an ice cube and mix the saffron water with coarsely chopped onions, salt, and pepper for the marinade. Marinate chicken with the resulting mixture and refrigerate for a minimum of an hour. Heat up a pan with vegetable oil together with butter, then add the chicken and cover-fry each side for 30 to 45 minutes until golden. Drain the excess oil on a metal grid and serve with the reduced pomegranate sauce and Basmati rice—it’s just perfect.

category: Lunch
Update by in Thursday 4 April 2024

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