Persian Jeweled Rice
Persian jeweled rice is the native Persian dish that I had few days ago at my friend’s place. The flavor, fragrance and taste was beyond words. It had soft cooked basmati rice and different colorful ingredients that depicted different gemstones.
I was so blown away with this dish that I decided to dig deep into the recipe. Googled about it and found some interesting details and few ways to make this delicious rice. Made this a number of times and I have fallen in love with this fragrant and dryfruit studded rice.
What exactly makes the Jeweled rice?
This jeweled rice is usually eaten as a side in a Persian meal along with meat and other dishes on special occasions and weddings. This dish is the real celebration of taste and aroma. Upon googling I found out that the name of this dish in it’s native language – ‘Jawaher Polow’ literally translates to jawaher – gemstones and polow is Pulav or pilaf.
This rice dish has aroma of Basmati rice, cardamom, cinnamon, barberries (that depict rubies), pistachios(emeralds) and almonds (pearls). The saffron imparts beautiful color and when you bite into the first morsel, the crunch of dry fruits and softness of carrots and rice makes this dish even more ecstatic.
This recipe mentions the use of barberries ( native red berries) however, I have used cranberries instead. You can also use red raisins if you can’t find cranberries.
How to make this rice?
This rice has lots of ingredients that makes it simply delightful to eat. That doesn’t mean it will be complex to make. The jeweled rice is extremely easy and can be made and stored refrigerated up to a week.
The long grains of the Basmati rice imparts a delicate texture and the nuts and berries make it even more appealing. And saffron imparts a beautiful warm color to the rice. This rice is usually cooked in open pan and cooks in fast if it is pre-soaked for around 20 mins.
What can I pair this rice with?
This jeweled rice is vegetarian and is usually paired with lamb curry or other meat curries. However, you can also pair this rice with a vegetarian curry or a basic kachumbar.
For me, I have paired it with a pineapple raita and cauliflower- coconut curry.
- 2 cups of long grain basmati rice
- 6 cups of water
- 2 carrots peeled and sliced thin as a matchstick
- ½ cup of pistachios soaked in cold water
- ½ cup of almonds soaked in cold water
- ½ cup cashews soaked in water
- ½ cup of cranberries
- ⅓ cup of raisins
- 4-5 dried apricots
- 1 large orange,wash, dry and peel the skin to make thin pieces
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon powdered saffron dissolved in 3-4 tablespoons of warm milk
- 2-3 cardamom pods
- 1/ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon crushed rose petals
- Salt as per taste
- 2 tbsp Butter/Oil
- Wash Basmati rice until the starch wears off and then soak the rice for 15-20 mins.
- Peel the orange skin and finely chop this peel and keep it aside.
- In a pan, add the orange peels and ½ cup of water and boil on medium flame for 4 mins.
- Meanwhile, in another sauce pan, add 1 tsp of oil and add carrots and 2 tsp of sugar to it,
- Drain the water from the orange peels and add them to the saucepan along with carrots.
- Also add whole cinnamon and cardamom pods to this mixture.
- Once the carrots look sugar coated and slightly cooked, add ½ cup of water and bring it to a boil.
- Once the water starts boiling, drain the water and keep this water aside. Do not throw the water.
- Set the carrot-orange peel mix aside.
- In the same sauce pan, add 1 tsp of oil and dryfruits - pistachios, almonds, cashews, cranberries and raisins and roast them for 1-2 mins. Transfer the dry fruits into another bowl.
- In a deep pan, heat butter on medium flame and then add cumin, cardamom, bay leaves and star anise to it.
- Add 6-8 cups of water along with 2 tsp of salt to it and bring it to boil. Add soaked rice to it and let it cook par-boiled. Cook for 6-10 mins. The grain should be soft but the center should be slightly uncooked.
- Turn off the flame and drain excess water from the rice and let it sit for 5-10 mins.
- Meanwhile soak few strands of saffron in warm milk for few mins.
- In a deep pan, set a layer of rice and top it with orange peel and carrots. Over that add dry fruits and a few drops of saffron infused milk and the water reserved from cooking carrots and orange peel.
- Repeat the process to form layers until all the rice is used up. Keep some of the dry fruits to garnish later.
- Cover this pan with a tight lid and keep it on a low flame to cook for 10-12 minutes.
- Once done, turn off the flame, garnish with dry fruits and serve hot.
This rice is usually paired with meat dishes but being a vegan, I have paired this recipe with cauliflower coconut curry and pineapple raita.
I hope you like this recipe and give this a try. If you try this recipe and liked it, do share a picture with the hashtag #whenchaimetbiskit on Instagram or Facebook. Would love to know what you guys have been cooking.