Persian Saffron Chicken

I’m kicking myself.

Why did I ask my mum to share her saffron chicken recipe? Now I have no excuses to ask her to make me batches.

Confession #1- Melbourne. 48 hours. 1 kilogram of chicken thighs = 4 servings of saffron chicken.

Confession #2- Sydney- 48 hours. 2 kilograms of chicken thighs = 8 servings of saffron chicken.


Now before you go thinking I’m a bad son, hear me out. My mum insisted on making it both times….so who am I to stop her doing something she loves? (Let’s not mention the fact that the studio apartment they were staying at contained an ancient stovetop which added 2 years of your life to cook the most basic of dishes).

I think this saffron chicken needs it’s on hashtag and should start trending. The number of times I’ve mentioned it or featured it in What I ate Wednesday posts…It should totally be the new chia seed, coconut oil or chickpea….but with lasting status.

There are a myriad of chicken dishes we have which we all fall back on. Whether that be a basic grilled chicken, a rositerrie chicken or even a chicken stir fry– we all have fall backs and favourites. Growing up, I would always favour my mum’s saffron chicken over any of the more popular choices. The colour and flavour of the saffron mixed with not much else besides salt, olive oil, onion and diced tomatoes provide for a fragrant and flavourful dish- Which makes you question how something with so very little ingredients can taste absolutely amazing.

Make this and send a wooden spoon to the mother- Promise you won’t be chased with it. That is reserved for me.

Persian Saffron chicken


Serves- 4

  • 1 kilogram skinless chicken thighs, chopped into quarters (can sub for chicken drumsticks/breasts etc)
  • 1 large onion, diced finely
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes (400 grams)
  • ½ tsp pure saffron
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  1. Generously coat a large frying pan with olive oil. Once hot, add the chopped chicken thigh pieces and cook on medium heat. Allow to cook for around 5 minutes.
  2. Add in the chopped onions and canned tomatoes and reduce heat to low. Add in a generous sprinkling of salt and saffron and mix very well. Allow to simmer for approximately 15 minutes, or until the sauce reduces.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to sit in reduction sauce for 5 minutes before serving.
  4. Serve on top of basmati rice, or with a side of pita bread and salad!

 Note- This dish can easily be frozen for up to 4-6 weeks or refrigerated for up to a week. Do not refreeze.


Linking up with the Laura and Kierston this week for the usual #strangebutgood and #Recipefriday parties. Separate, not together.

Have a great start to the weekend and be kind to yourselves. Or just be kind to me. Don’t forget to swing by Sunday for the Blogger lead ‘Spill it, Sundays’ for the coming weeks- This week featuring the Juli Award.

Have you ever eaten a saffron based dish?

What is your favourite way to eat chicken?

What is a fallback dinner you have on rotation?

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55 thoughts on “Persian Saffron Chicken

  1. Mum has outdone herself yet again. I’m glad you got her to share the recipe; the world needs this chicken.

    I think some of the best dishes also are some of the most basic to make with the fewest ingredients possible. A ripe tomato paired with fresh mozzarella and basil and then dusted with olive oil, a touch of vinegar and S&P is just about heaven on a plate for me. I could eat this every day in the summer.

    1. That would be absolutely perfect, with a slice of white sourdough toast as a vehicle and an extra drizzle of balsamic. Why must you mention this when we are entering Winter now :p

  2. Finally! Me and my chicken were waiting for this saffron version. I might be obsessed with saffron, I throw it at anything and everything. I even use it as make up. That was a bad joke.

    Grilled chicken is my favorite, but in winter I just make it in the oven. It allows me to have a predrink while it’s roasting.

    1. I know you love your saffron but you must try this out- seriously, it is so simple and so delicious! Mmmm you can never beat grilled chicken to chuck in all things and everything!

  3. Say whaaat- this recipe looks fool-proof and I can’t wait to try it…big thanks to your momma for sharing! I’ve been looking for a good chicken curry type recipe that doesn’t contain Indian flavors and this sounds right up my alley. Recently I’ve been loving chicken in burger form- mince, add loads of fresh herbs and a few veggies and bind. And of course ketchup, avocado and mustard are almost always a given ;)!

  4. I have been waiting for this recipe! It looks so good and I’m glad it’s a pretty basic recipe – sometimes simple is best. I love chicken, and it’s probably where I get most of my protein from (meat wise). I make a good chicken curry with chicken breast, canned tomatoes, rogan josh curry paste and coconut milk! But if I just want quick chicken I cook it with a marinade of balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, dried italian herbs, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper!

  5. YES! I’m so excited for this! Truth be told I have saffron in my cupboard, but I’ve actually never cooked with it. This will be the perfect way to try it out. 😀

    My fallback recipe is either Mexican or some kind of stir fry. Truth be told I don’t cook a lot of chicken because I find it boring, but this recipe looks anything but boring!

  6. This seems so simple and tasty! I have saffron, but I only ever add it to rice…which I haven’t actually done for a while. Might have to do that next time and cook rice…
    Fallback dinner: eggs or pancakes (woot breakfast for dinner!) or a big salad. Gets the job done.

  7. YUMMMM hahah about the old stove— my stove from last year was from the 70s I swear and I was so confused as to why the apartment wouldn’t replace it. Are they that expensive??? Anyway, this looks awesome and my favorite way to eat chicken hmmm honestly probably just grilled with olive oil–suuuuuper simple and still flavorful.

    1. Haha seriously, what is with some places and replacing their electrical equipment? When I was in the temporary accommodation my work provided, their ovens there cooked food in like, 15 minutes. My mind was blown.

  8. Bless your Mum for cooking your favorite dish in your shoebox twice 🙂
    This sounds totally yummy and easy. The best combination when it comes to recipes! I can’t remember I ever ate a saffron based recipe. Would be a new experience.
    my fallback dinner? Chili con Carne of course 🙂

  9. I had a tomato saffron soup once and that was delicious and warming! I love chicken thighs too, so much tastier then the old breast 😉
    I don’t really eat that much meat, perhaps twice a week or so… The J man has been making a really good coconut chicken lately though. He coats a chicken breast in coconut oil, mix of random spices, dessicated coconut and then griddle pan fries it – so good – try it!

    1. Stupid chicken boobs- once moving down to the thighs, you never go back! Tomato + saffron is an epic combination!

      Okay, you need to remind me to make it- that might make the chicken boobs taste nice 😉

  10. I love the simple ingredients in this dish, but I bet it’s super, super flavorful! It looks like the most perfect comfort food – add a side of crusty bread and that sounds like perfection! I haven’t actually tried a saffron based dish before, but I love trying new things, so I’m excited to try out a new herb!

  11. Yum, yum, yum! I’ve had numerous Persian dishes with saffron but never one like this. Do you use sumac much? I am hoping to carve out time this weekend to make your caramelized onion and eggplant dip. (Then sit down with a wooden spoon and it all by my lonesome.) Do you use regular large eggplant or the smaller Japanese variety? The woman who taught me how to make eggplant stew (ghormeh bademjan? I probably horribly butchered the spelling.)
    My mom makes an Italian barbecue chicken. It is simple and delicious. Basically, she marinates chicken in olive oil, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, and lemon for 24 hours before grilling.
    Enjoy your well earned weekend!

    1. Mum uses sumac when she makes huge vats of Persian style rice- she melts butter through it then tops it with sumac!

      With the eggplant, try a regular one! That chicken actually sounds delicious- good marinating is absolutely key!

  12. Confession: I have never cooked with chicken thighs, simply because the name and idea of it kind of sketches me out. But this just migggght be the recipe to change that, given your mum’s first recipe (caramelized onion and eggplant dip) rocked my world!!

  13. You know what’s sad? I don’t think I’ve ever had saffron anything before. You know what’s even sadder? That you didn’t invite me over for dinner so that I could try it out. You’re lucky I had my mom’s sesame chicken stir fry to fall back on. That’s probably one of the dinners that my mom makes the most often for when I go over there, and I’m definitely not complaining — I love it. Even better as cold leftovers 😉

  14. Tell Margie to get home from Uzbekistan so she can come deliver me some saffron! That shit is expensive. Better yet send me some tonight. I’ll throw it on some quinoa.

    WAKE UP I have some blotching to do…

    1. How dare you say she is from Uzbekistan. She is finding a new menopause buddy.

      Blotching with you is the icing (made of almond meal and coconut milk) on the cake (made of air, barbells and raw cocoa).

  15. Oh my gosh this looks amazing!! I’ve been waiting so patiently for you to share this recipe!! I can’t wait to make it, and the best part… It’s advocare challenge friendly! Woohoo!!
    I’ve never tried a saffron based dish but always wanted to. I think my go to chicken recipe is a simple roasted bird with yummy seasoning on to!! There’s nothing better then a farm fresh roasted bird!!

  16. Aaah the famous chicken! Which – repeat after me: I do not love more than Mum.
    While I have full faith that the recipe is a winner, a sprinkle of magic (love) from Mum while she cooks is what I reckon takes it up 50 notches. So when you make it, it will not be *exactly* the same :tongue out:!
    Chicken is my fave meat, but I refuse to cook it!
    My Mum makes the best biryani – by what everyone says – which is a heavily complicated dish and if I’m correct cannot be made without saffron.

    1. I don’t disagree with toy there- I can NEVER replicate her recipes but hey, when the craving strikes, I have a semi decent substitute.

      Biriyani is delicious- you should steal the recipe from her 😉

  17. IF ONLY YOU KNEW HOW MUCH I LOVE PERSIAN FOOD – OMG OMG OM GOMG OM GOMGHHDFIUgdiuasdhdiaeiu! I LOVE IT SO MUCH. BAH HA AH! Okay, I guess you know now, lol! So when you come to LA, we are not only going to eat at seafood buffets galore but we are also going to Persian Food Hop!!! I have lots and lots of places I can take youuuuuuuuu! 😀

  18. I think the only time I’ve ever had saffron was in paella. Other than that, I’ve never really had saffron-based dishes! I really love being exposed to other cultures, especially through food, so I’d love to try this. If I do I’ll definitely give you a shout-out! I love chicken but (confession) I’m terrible at cooking it myself. I’m really picky about meat so if I play around with raw meat too much I’ll make myself sick and can’t eat it for awhile. That leads me to being super high-maintenance and making Zain cook the chicken or only ordering it when we go out to eat. I wish I could be a huge meat eater who didn’t care where it came from but it’s just not in the cards for me haha.

      1. So, I just made this for my lunches this week. Now I know why you’ve been talking it up all this time…it is delicious!! I also love how simple it is and that it uses commonly on-hand ingredients, which is always a huge plus. Thanks to you and your mum for sharing this recipe – will definitely be a repeater. 🙂

        And yes, I used thighs! Ever since I made the switch, I’ve never gone back to chix breasts – they just seem so dry and tasteless now.

  19. FINALLY. I’m gonna ask my mom to make this. Not because I’m a bad daughter (like you, a bad son), but because I’m afraid I will mishandle the precious saffron. I would be the one to accidentally drop half the jar of saffron into the pot.
    Who is ever nice to you? Not me.

  20. Mmmm easy is always delicious and simple food with good ingredients is some of the best. Stir-fry or salads are my go-to for easy meals, tons of veggies, minimal work, and delicious no matter what you put in.

    I’ve got a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more of this chicken now that you can make it yourself (minus the beating of course!)

  21. That’s IT?! You mean to tell me, my little latte friend, that there are only FOUR ingredients to this unicorn of foodie dishes that you’ve been teasing me with for MONTHS?!! Shame on you…shame! Luckily, I have just a tiny shred of forgiveness in my heart just for you…but don’t thank me…oh no. Thank the packet of saffron in my kitchen cupboard that is SCREAMING to me at this very moment! And wouldn’t you know, I just had a friend talk me into buying some basmati rice last weekend! Did you come raid my kitchen while I was at work the other day??

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