Chelo Nachodo (Chicken) Recipe from Afghanistan

Chelo nachodo (chicken)

Chelo Nachodo (Chicken) Recipe from Afghanistan
Region / culture: Afghanistan | Preparation time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 1 hour | Servings: 4


Chelo nachodo (chicken)
Chelo nachodo (chicken)

Chelo nachodo is a traditional Persian dish that consists of flavorful chicken stew served with crispy rice. This dish is packed with aromatic spices and fresh herbs, making it a delicious and comforting meal.


Chelo nachodo has its roots in Persian cuisine, where it is a popular dish served during special occasions and gatherings. The combination of tender chicken stew and crispy rice is a unique and delicious way to enjoy a hearty meal.


How to prepare

  1. To prepare stew: Bring water to a boil. Add chicken pieces and remove foam as it cooks. Add chickpeas, onions, celery, carrots, zucchini, salt, pepper, and cumin seeds. Cover the pan and cook over moderate heat for 45 minutes. Add coriander, dill, and lemon juice and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes more. This will tenderize the chicken and incorporate all the seasonings.
  2. To prepare rice: Bring 4 cups of water and salt to a boil in a pan. Add rice and cook over moderate heat for 5 minutes. Drain the rice in a colander and rinse with cold water. Return the rice to the pan and pour oil over it. Cover the pan and cook over low heat for 30 minutes. No additional water is added, and the rice cooks only with the moisture that clings to it after rinsing. The rice will develop a crisp bottom layer.
  3. Serve the rice and stew separately. Each diner takes their own portion of rice and covers it with as much stew as they wish. Serve warm.


  • You can add additional vegetables such as bell peppers or eggplant to the stew for extra flavor and nutrition.
  • For a vegetarian version, you can substitute the chicken with tofu or tempeh and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

Make sure to remove the foam that forms on the surface of the stew as it cooks to ensure a clear and flavorful broth.

- Rinsing the rice well before cooking helps remove excess starch and ensures that the rice cooks up fluffy and separate.

- Cooking the rice with a layer of oil at the bottom of the pan creates a crispy bottom layer, known as tahdig, which is a prized part of the dish.

Serving Suggestions

Chelo nachodo is traditionally served with a side of yogurt or salad to complement the flavors of the dish.

Cooking Techniques

Cooking the rice with a layer of oil at the bottom of the pan creates a crispy bottom layer, known as tahdig, which is a prized part of the dish.

- Simmering the stew over low heat allows the flavors to meld together and the chicken to become tender.

Ingredient Substitutions

You can use boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead of chicken legs and thighs for a leaner option.

- If you don't have fresh herbs, you can use dried herbs such as parsley or mint in the stew.

Make Ahead Tips

You can prepare the stew and rice ahead of time and reheat them before serving for a quick and easy meal.

Presentation Ideas

Serve the crispy rice on a platter and top it with the chicken stew for an elegant presentation. - Garnish the dish with fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon juice for a pop of color and flavor.

Pairing Recommendations

Chelo nachodo pairs well with a glass of chilled white wine or a refreshing cucumber mint cooler.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat the stew and rice separately in the microwave or on the stovetop until heated through.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Each serving of chelo nachodo contains approximately 400 calories, making it a satisfying and filling meal.


Each serving of chelo nachodo contains approximately 45 grams of carbohydrates, mainly from the rice and vegetables in the stew.


Each serving of chelo nachodo contains approximately 15 grams of fats, primarily from the chicken and oil used in cooking.


Each serving of chelo nachodo contains approximately 25 grams of protein, mainly from the chicken and chickpeas in the stew.

Vitamins and minerals

Chelo nachodo is rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C from the lemon juice and fresh herbs, as well as iron and fiber from the chickpeas and vegetables.


Chelo nachodo contains gluten from the rice and may contain allergens such as nuts or dairy depending on the specific recipe variations.


Chelo nachodo is a balanced meal that provides a good mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, along with essential vitamins and minerals.


Chelo nachodo is a delicious and comforting Persian dish that combines tender chicken stew with crispy rice. Packed with aromatic spices and fresh herbs, this dish is sure to become a favorite at your table.

How did I get this recipe?

The memory of finding this recipe for the first time brings a smile to my face. I remember it like it was yesterday, even though it was more than thirty years ago. It was a hot summer day, and I was visiting my dear friend Maria in her cozy little kitchen. Maria was a fantastic cook, and I always loved learning new recipes from her.

On that particular day, Maria was busy preparing a special dish called Chelo nachodo, a traditional Persian chicken recipe. The aroma wafting from the kitchen was absolutely heavenly, and I couldn't wait to try it. As Maria chopped the onions and garlic, she began to tell me the story behind the dish.

She explained that Chelo nachodo was a dish that had been passed down through generations in her family. It was a recipe that originated in her grandmother's kitchen in Iran, and it had been a favorite amongst her relatives for as long as she could remember. Maria shared with me how her grandmother would spend hours in the kitchen, meticulously preparing the dish with love and care.

As Maria continued to cook, I watched intently, taking mental notes of each step she took. I could tell that this recipe was something special, and I knew that I had to learn how to make it myself. Maria noticed my eagerness and offered to teach me the recipe.

She patiently guided me through each step, showing me how to marinate the chicken in a blend of yogurt, lemon juice, and spices. She demonstrated how to sauté the onions and garlic until they were golden brown and fragrant, and then add the marinated chicken to the pan. As the chicken cooked, Maria explained the importance of simmering it slowly to allow the flavors to meld together.

Finally, it was time to add the rice to the pot. Maria showed me how to rinse the rice until the water ran clear, a crucial step to ensure fluffy grains. She then added the rice to the pot, along with a generous amount of chicken broth, and let it simmer until it was cooked to perfection.

As the Chelo nachodo cooked, the aroma filled the kitchen, and my mouth watered with anticipation. Maria and I chatted and laughed as we waited for the dish to be ready, savoring the time spent together in the kitchen.

When the Chelo nachodo was finally done, Maria served it in a large platter, garnished with fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon. The flavors were incredible – the tender chicken was perfectly seasoned, and the rice was light and fluffy. It was a dish that tasted like home, like love, like tradition.

After that day, I made Chelo nachodo countless times, each time adding my own twist to the recipe. I experimented with different spices, tried different variations of the dish, and shared it with my family and friends. It became a staple in my own kitchen, a dish that never failed to bring joy and comfort to those who tasted it.

As I sit here now, reminiscing about that day in Maria's kitchen, I am filled with gratitude for the gift of that recipe. It is more than just a dish – it is a connection to the past, a reminder of the power of food to bring us together and create lasting memories. And every time I make Chelo nachodo, I am transported back to that kitchen, to that moment of discovery and friendship, and I am grateful for the love and tradition that it represents.


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