As a kid growing up in Iran, I always hoped to someday have a cat or a dog, but most Iranians, don't believe in having pets in their homes! You might see a canary or some other exotic bird in a cage at someone's house next to a fountain or in the garden but rarely anything else.
Back when I was kid, I frequently brought home stray cats and dogs since my parents always refused to get me a pet. I would then give them a bath, use a blow dry them, feed them, and even give them a name. My parents would then show some objection, but never had the heart to take the pet away from me.
At bed time, I would then take the dog or the cat and have them sleep in my bedroom. But each morning, as I woke up, they would be gone, and my parents would always tell me then that the dog or the cat had to go home because they had missed their families.
Well, that was the routine till one day, on the way home from school, I detected a small young chicken frantically running around the street and trying to avoid the traffic. The poor thing was about to get run over by the oncoming cars, and I had to save him! So, there I was running around in circles trying to catch a chicken on a busy Tehran street.
I am not sure how the chicken and I both survived and din't get run over by the Iranian drivers who think of traffic lights only as a means for decoration. But having developed skills of agility at school by having to dodge away from the bullies' grabs and tackles on a daily basis, I managed to catch this roadrunner safely and take it home with me.
As usual, I gave it a bath, and used a blow dryer to dry him up. By that time, the poor chicken was probably wishing he had gotten run over by a car earlier. After feeding it some rice, my parents insisted that I keep the chicken in the back yard and not in the house, to which I obliged.
The next morning I woke up, expecting for my new pet to be gone, but to my surprise, he was still in the back yard, being fed small pieces of bread by my mom. Man, I was so happy; finally an animal had decided to stay and not abandon me. I officially had a pet now and better yet my parents were actually ok with feeding and taking care of it.
All of a sudden my life had changed for the better. Everyday, I went to school and told stories about my new pet to eager listeners. Having rescued a chicken from the jaws of death on a busy Tehran street and getting to keep it as a pet had made me a popular kid and earned me some respect at school. And respect was something that I could have used a lot of since I was the youngest in my class.
Everyday, I ran home from school to play with my chicken. I would go to the back yard chasing him around and pretending to be the Coyote and him the roadrunner, till we were both totally exhausted. Then I would pick him up, pet him a little, feed him some rice and then take him inside to watch some cartoons on TV.
A happy month passed by, and one day as usual I came home anxiously to play with my chicken. I looked all around the back yard and inside the house but there was no sign of him. Surprised, I went to my mom and asked, “Mom, where is my chicken?” To which she replied, “Oh, I am sorry, he missed his family and wanted to go back home. Here taste this chicken, I have used a new recipe.”
Well, I have used my mom's recipe many times and it is really good. So today, I am going to share with you my mom's Persian recipe for chicken. The ingredients are:
— 1 fresh chicken …
About Shahrokh Nikfar's The Persian Hour is aired on KYRS FM 95.3 in Spokane, Washington. The show is broadcasted live each Saturday from 12:00 to 1:00 pm and you can catch it on the net at kyrs.org. The program's goals are: to promote education and understanding of Iranian culture and to provide diverse cultural entertainment. This program will usually consist of Iranian music and poetry, commentaries and story telling, interviews with people who have lived in or visited Iran, and on occasion sharing of some favorite recipes or introduction of a new book or a movie.