One Pot Cilantro Chicken and Rice

Even as a young girl I had a vision of the mother I would be. Perfectly attired with manicured nails in a tastefully decorated home, I’d have delicious, healthy meals ready for my family, every day. I once walked into Barnes and Nobles in Union Square to buy my college textbooks and left with Jessica Seinfeld’s Deceptively Delicious, because well, it’s never too early to prepare. Now that reality is firmly in place, I’d readily admit that I can’t remember the last time my fingers got a coat of pretty polish and if we’re being so open I can tell you that I’m typing this on a plastic pseudo-dining table we've borrowed indefinitely. Or at least until the husband and I can meld our differing taste, but I digress. Motherhood has pushed me to shift my anticipated self-perception dramatically; from striving to fit my immature understanding of a perfect mother to being satisfied with little victories, like matching socks and smiling faces.

But one thing that I hold onto is the ritual of a daily family dinner. I believe in it wholeheartedly and yet never thought that a simple meal could take so much effort. Maybe it’s because I don’t rely on convenience foods (though I’d seldom decline take out), or maybe I’m a little too eager but by Wednesday morning I’m bunt out from the cooking and cleaning. That’s when I pull out the simplest meal from my repertoire. I aim to keep it uncomplicated, flavorful and in one pan, so I can have more time to focus on my little people.

This recipe is actually a Bucharian dish called bachsh, which my husband’s aunt in Israel makes in a traditional aluminum pot you’d probably only find in the shuk (open air market). The cilantro imparts so much flavor to the rice and chicken that it needs only a sprinkling of salt and pepper. I let it cook a little longer so the bottom crisps up a bit, similar to Persian tadig. It’s one of those dishes that deliver a satisfying bowl with minimal ingredients.

One Pot Cilantro Chicken and Rice


2 bunches of cilantro, stems removed and washed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1lb chicken breast, cut into small chunks

2 cups white rice, rinsed

3 cups boiling water

salt and pepper, to taste


In a small chopper or food processor, process the cilantro leaves until finely chopped. In a large pan, heat the oil on medium heat. Sauté the onions until slightly translucent. Add the chicken and cook until mostly opaque, mixing well to sear both sides. The chicken needs to be mostly cooked but not fully, so a few pink spots are ok. Add the rice and chopped cilantro and mix well. Pour the boiling water, season with salt and pepper and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook until the rice is fluffy, about 20-30 minutes. Serve with tahini and enjoy.