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Persian Jeweled Rice Recipe: A Delicious and Colorful Dish

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Persian Jeweled Rice is not just a dish; it’s a feast for the senses with its vibrant colors and tantalizing flavors. This recipe combines basmati rice with saffron, dried fruits, and nuts, making it a mesmerizing centerpiece for any meal.

You’ll love how the sweet and savory elements come together, with ingredients like cranberries, pistachios, and candied orange peel. Also known as “tah-dig,” the crispy bottom layer brings an exciting texture that sets this dish apart. Enjoy making and sharing this beautiful and delicious recipe with your family and friends.

Exact Ingredients (+ Possible Substitutes)

Here’s what you’ll need to make Persian Jeweled Rice:

Rice:

  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • Substitute: Jasmine rice

Spices:

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 pinch saffron threads soaked in warm water
  • Substitute for saffron: Turmeric, though it will change the flavor

Sweet and Crunchy Add-ins:

  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds or pistachios
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, raisins, or cherries
  • Substitute: Any dried fruit or nut mix you prefer

Other Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt to taste

You can always mix and match depending on what you have on hand. Enjoy cooking!

Instructions

  1. Prepare the Rice:

    • Rinse 2 cups of rice in cold water until the water runs clear.
    • Soak the rice in water with a pinch of salt for 20 minutes.
    • Drain well.
  2. Cook the Rice:

    • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
    • Add the rice and cook for about 6-8 minutes until it is al dente.
    • Drain and set aside.
  3. Saffron Mixture:

    • Grind a pinch of saffron with a bit of sugar using a mortar and pestle.
    • Combine this with ⅓ cup boiling water and let it steep.
  4. Layering:

    • In a large pot, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat.
    • Spread half of the rice in the pot, drizzle with half of the saffron water.
    • Add the remaining rice on top and drizzle with the rest of the saffron water.
  5. Steam:

    • Cover the pot with a clean towel and place the lid on top to prevent steam from escaping.
    • Cook on low heat for 30-40 minutes.
  6. Prepare the Toppings:

    • While the rice is cooking, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a small skillet.
    • Add ¼ cup of almonds and toast until golden.
    • Add barberries and raisins, stir for a minute, then remove from heat.
  7. Assemble:

    • Once the rice is done, fluff it gently.
    • Transfer the rice to a large platter and garnish with the almonds, barberries, and raisins.

Enjoy your Persian Jeweled Rice!

Tips, Tricks & Storing

Use Quality Saffron: Real saffron threads give your rice a rich flavor and vibrant color.

Soak the Rice: Soaking the rice for about 20-30 minutes before cooking can help make it fluffier.

Parboil the Rice: Boil the rice until it’s al dente, approximately 7-8 minutes. This helps in achieving the perfect texture.

Layering: Layer your ingredients carefully. Spread the rice evenly, then add the fruits and nuts to make sure every bite is flavorful.

Sauté the Nuts and Fruits: Cook the almonds, raisins, and barberries in butter until they’re lightly golden and fragrant. This enhances their flavor.

Drizzle Saffron Water: Pour saffron-infused water over the rice after cooking to ensure it gets an even distribution of color and flavor.

Resting Time: After cooking, let the rice sit covered for about 10 minutes. This helps the flavors meld together.

Storing Your Rice:

  • Fridge: Place leftover rice in an airtight container. It will stay fresh for up to 3-4 days.
  • Freezer: You can freeze the rice for up to a month. Make sure it’s cooled completely before storing in freezer-safe containers.

Reheating Tips:

  • Microwave: Add a splash of water and cover with a damp paper towel. Heat in 30-second intervals.
  • Stovetop: Add a little water or broth and heat on low until warmed through.

Storing and reheating correctly helps maintain the texture and flavor of your Persian Jeweled Rice.

Recipe Variations & Serving Suggestions

Persian Jeweled Rice is a visually stunning and flavorful dish that you can easily customize.

Variations


  1. Dried Fruits: Swap out traditional ingredients like barberries or raisins with dried apricots, cranberries, or figs for a different twist.



  2. Nuts: Besides almonds and pistachios, try adding cashews or walnuts for a different crunch and flavor.



  3. Vegetarian: For a fully vegetarian version, omit meat or animal-based broth. Use vegetable broth instead.



  4. Spices: Adjust the spices to suit your taste. You can add more cinnamon, cardamom, or even try a bit of ground cloves for a unique taste.


Serving Suggestions


  • Side Dish: Serve it alongside grilled or roasted meats like chicken, lamb, or beef.



  • Main Course: Make it heartier by adding shredded chicken, beef, or even chickpeas to the rice.



  • Garnish: Top with fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro, and a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds for an extra touch of color and flavor.



  • Special Occasion: This rice is perfect for festive occasions and gatherings, impressing guests with its vibrant look and rich taste.


Feel free to get creative and enjoy this delightful dish in numerous ways!

Benjamin Happy Muncher

Hi, I'm Benjamin. I love cooking, long walks, and my girlfriend! Here you’ll find simple and delicious recipes that you can make in 30 minutes or less.