Scrub the surface of zucchini, eggplant and tomatoes using a vegetable brush. Rinse the vegetables and wipe dry. Cut the zucchini and eggplant into ¾ inch slices. Quarter the tomatoes.
Brush the vegetables lightly but evenly with about 2 ½ to 3 tablespoons olive oil.
Place the vegetables on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or oiled aluminum foil.
Bake until fork tender for about 25 minutes (time may vary with oven). Check at 20 minutes and adjust time accordingly. Set aside the roasted vegetables.
Cut the chicken into 2 to 3 inch pieces. Heat ½ tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet or Dutch oven at medium high setting. Sear the chicken pieces on both sides and set aside. Make sure the temperature is high enough to give a quick sear that browns the chicken surface, while the inside is still not cooked through.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil at medium setting in a cooking pot or Dutch oven. Add the sliced onion and sauté until golden brown.
Then add grated garlic and sauté few minutes. Next add the advieh, turmeric, crushed tomatoes, chopped peppers, saffron water, black pepper, ½ teaspoon of salt, ½ cup water and stir it all together and let sizzle a little.
Add the seared chicken pieces and stir. Drain the water from the soaked chana dal and add to the cooking pot.
Raise the heat and when it starts to sizzle then lower the heat and allow it to simmer for about 30 minutes. Next add the roasted zucchini, eggplant and tomatoes and cook further for about 15 minutes until chicken is tender.
Check in between and add some water as needed, making sure the stew consistency does not become too thin or runny, as the chicken and vegetables release some juices.
Add the lemon juice, chopped cilantro and mix it in. Adjust the amount of salt, lemon juice and other seasoning as per taste. Allow to simmer at low heat setting for another 5 to 10 minutes.
The stew consistency should be like thick tomato sauce and some of the oil would have separated out on the top. Garnish with some fresh cilantro if you prefer.
The Persian Zucchini Stew (Khoresht Kadoo) can be served with rice, bread, pickles and yogurt.
Vegetable slices may be grilled, fried on a hot non stick pan or broiled about five minutes each side. Make sure to lightly brush oil on each side. And once done, flip it and brush the oil lightly on the other side and cook until done.
In place of the crushed tomatoes, you could use about 3 tablespoons tomato paste.
Turmeric, saffron and chana dal (a type of split chickpea, known as Bengal gram) are available at Indian or middle eastern grocery stores or online.
Persian spice mix (Advieh) recipe is on the blog. Ready made advieh is available at Persian or middle eastern grocery stores or online. You may use a middle eastern or Mediterranean mixed spice as a substitute.