Toyuq Chigirtma Plov

TOYUQ CHIGIRTMA PLOV (Chicken and Egg Pilaf)
Pilaf is the signature dish of Azerbaijani cuisine. It served on special occasions and known in Azerbaijan as Ash or Plov.  Azerbaijani cuisine has dozens of different types of pilaf, one of which is Toyuq Chigirtma Plov (Chicken and Egg Pilaf).
The word “Chigirtma” in the name of a dish means that the dish includes beaten eggs.

*A full-sized picture of this dish is available in the Gallery.

Ingredients for 4 servings:
for rice
2 cups long-grain (Basmati) rice (cup size 250 ml)
1 quart (1 liter) water + 1 tbsp salt for soaking rice
3 quarts (3 liter) water + 3 tbsp salt for cooking rice
8 oz (225 g) clarified unsalted butter
2 tbsp saffron infusion
1 lavash (tortilla) for qazmaq
for chigirtma
1 chicken
1 onion
4-5 eggs
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tbsp saffron infusion
2 tbsp clarified butter
salt to taste for chicken

Preparation:
Preparing the saffron infusion.
Place 1 tsp saffron threads into a glass. Then, pour 4 tablespoons of boiling water and let it sit. The water will turn an opulent yellow color immediately, deepening over the next few minutes until it becomes a clear, bright orange.

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Preparing the chicken and onion.
Slice the onion into thin half-rings, add one tablespoon of clarified butter into a pan, and fry the onion until golden brown. (If you do not have clarified butter, a quick substitute when frying with clarified butter is just simply add a teaspoon of olive oil to regular butter, to prevent the butter from burning.)

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Cut the chicken into pieces. In a deep frying pan add one tablespoon of clarified butter and lightly fry the chicken on both sides.

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Place fried onion on the chicken, season with salt, add lemon juice and 2 tbsp saffron infusion. Lower the heat, cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid, and sauté (simmer) until the chicken is cooked. The chicken will reduce some of its own juice, and together with a saffron infusion, will create a beautiful flavor for this dish.

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Preparing Pilaf.
1. Rinse the rice thoroughly in cold water several times until the water stays clear, to remove excess starch. Then, soak the rice overnight in salty water at room temperature (or at least 1 hour in very hot salty water) for a truly great, fluffy, and evenly cooked rice. Before cooking the rice, pour out the water straining the rice with a colander.
2. Fill a pot (or saucepan) with water, add salt, and bring it to a boil. Place the rice into the boiling water. Stir, lower the heat to medium, and let it cook for 5-10 minutes (depending on the quality of your rice). Cooked rice should be soft on the outside and hard inside (not raw.)
3. Strain the rice using a colander, and rinse with a hot water to wash out an extra salt.
4. Melt two tablespoons of butter in a saucepan and place lavash (tortilla) on the butter. Place a layer of the rice (approximately a quarter of it) on top of the qazmaq and pour 2-3 tablespoons of melted butter on top. Then, follow up with another layer of rice and more butter. Repeat the procedure with all your rice. On the last layer, pour 2 tbsp of the saffron infusion along with more butter. Make some air holes in the surface with the handle of a wooden spoon to allow steam to escape.
5. Wrap the lid of the pot in a tea towel and cover the rice. Cook over a very low heat for about 45-60 minutes. Put a heat diffuser (or a pan) under your pot to prevent burning.
The cooked rice will absorb all the butter itself and will become fluffy and soft to the taste with an attractive yellow-and-white color.

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Preparing Chigirtma.
Beat the eggs.

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Remove the chicken pieces from the pan and set them aside. If there is too much liquid left on the pan, just let it boil until it has evaporated down to a half of cup. Mix the eggs with the chicken-onion stock mixture left on the pan. Arrange the chicken on the egg mixture, add some sliced lemon, and cook until the eggs have set. (Alternatively, you can bake it in a preheated oven at 350F (180C).)
Serve Toyuq Chigirtma Plov on a large plate and garnish with the egg and chicken mixture and qazmaq.

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Bon Appétit! Enjoy!

This post is also available in: Russian

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