A magnificent Persian rice dish called jeweled rice (javaher polow) fit for a wedding banquet or a Thanksgiving table. This rice is studded with slivered pistachios (representing emeralds), almonds, barberries (representing rubies), slivers of sweetened orange and carrot peel and golden raisins.
I used Najmieh Batmanglij’s New Food of Life directions for preparing the ingredients that make up this rice; for the rice however, I opted for Jasmine rice (instead of the traditional Basmati) and a streamlined preparation that took about 10 minutes.
The orange and carrot slivers were prepared weeks ago and stored in the freezer, as well as the nuts, raisins and barberries.
INGREDIENTS: 6 to 8 servings
- 1 1/2 cups of Jasmine rice
- 3 1/2 cups of water
- 4 tbsp of unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp of saffron
- Persian spice mix for rice (suggested): a mix of cinnamon, cardamom and rose petals and a pinch of cumin.
- 1 cup of slivered pistachios
- 1/2 cup of golden raisins
- 1 cup of barberries (substitute dried cherries, currants or cranberries)
- 2 cups of slivered carrots and orange peel
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1/2 cup of slivered almonds
- Place the slivered orange peel in a saucepan and cover with water. Boil and drain once (or twice) to remove any bitterness. Place in the saucepan with the shredded carrots and 1/2 cup of sugar and cover with water. Simmer for about 10 minutes and drain. (This step can be done weeks ahead and the slivers kept in a plastic bag in the freezer). Clean the barberries by stemming them (if they have a stem) and soaking them in cold water for 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry. They can be frozen at this point and used up later.
- Cook the rice according to package directions (keeping it on the firm side). When cooked, empty the pot and melt the butter in the pot with the saffron and 1/2 cup of water. Add the rice and mix with all the ingredients: pistachios, almonds, raisins, carrots, orange peel and barberries. Cover and let the rice steam (on low heat) for about 30 to 40 minutes. Serve.
NOTE: If you wish to make a crust for the rice, let it cook over medium heat for 20 minutes at first (after it has cooked, when the pot has some butter and water at the bottom); you can also mix a few tablespoons of yogurt with the rice and pat it at the bottom, which helps give it a thick crust. Be sure to use a non-stick pot or the crust will not release easily.
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