Persian jeweled rice (Javaher polow)

November 22, 2011  •  Category:

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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.


29 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Rosa says:

    Magnificent and so appetizing!



  2. Amy says:

    Yum! This would actually make a nice gluten-free side dish at Thanksgiving, instead of the traditional (and heavy) stuffing.

  3. Miriam says:

    This looks really sumptuous! And so tasty!

  4. Marie-Claire says:

    I was looking for a different side dish this year. THIS is it! Merci, Joumana, ça a l’air délicieux, et super élégant!

  5. Priya says:

    Super delicious rice,looks fantabulous..

  6. Nadji says:

    La preuve que nous avons les mêmes goûts culinaires. J’ai publié la même recette à mes débuts. Tes photos sont plus jolies.
    Un plat divin/.
    A très bientôt

  7. Lyndsey@TinySkillet says:

    This is a beautiful dish, and so festive for the holidays. I always like getting your tips on saving time in the kitchen!

  8. Joan Nova says:

    I know that must have been so fragrant — but what are barberries? Is there another name we would be familiar with in the U.S.?

    • Joumana says:

      @Joan: You can substitute dried fruits such as cherries or cranberries (I would pick cranberries); barberries are berries from a bush in Iran and are imported into the US and can be found in Persian markets or some ethnic markets. They are tiny, red, sour. They need to be soaked in water as they may have some sand in them. They should be red and not brown.

  9. Alaiyo Kiasi says:

    I loved your writing and food styling in this post and, of course, the photos. I agree with Lyndsey that the dish is very festive. I know I’m being redundant, but your recipes are so exciting!


  10. T.W. Barritt says:

    It does look like jewels – it almost shimmers!

  11. Magic of Spice says:

    What a beautifully colored rice dish…love the name as well as you explanation 🙂 And the flavors are incredible!

  12. banana wonder says:

    what a beautiful and tasty rice dish! love the addition of carrots. I would prefer this as a stuffing for t-day.

  13. Jeff says:

    Jeweled rice indeed! This is a great variation of rice! I’ll definitely be making this one day! Although.. I may leave out the rose petals. Not very manly :p

  14. Tom-Tall Clover Farm says:

    Joumana, this is one of the prettiest side dishes I ever did see, and no doubt will also be one of the most delicious I’ve ever tasted. Look forward to making and eating a plate of this sparkling pilaf. Thank you.

  15. jantonio says:

    It looks delicious. A big jewel.

  16. Nuts about food says:

    Ah yes, the crust is a must, even with all those pretty jewels.

  17. Faith says:

    I love the delicious crust on Persian rice! This dish is stunning, Joumana…perfect for a special celebration!

  18. Katerina says:

    I always love rice combined with other flavors. It makes it more interesting. This Persian rice looks very vivid and tasty!

  19. Peter says:

    My cousin married a Persian and he says they treat the rice like a main…meat is a side. That’s how special the Persians prepare their rice…and beautifully as you’ve shown here.

  20. Bria @ WestofPersia says:

    Lovely! One my favorite recipes, from a favorite book, and you’re after my heart with your streamlining techniques. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! Xoxo.

  21. Amanda says:

    One of my favorite Persian dishes!! Love it! I’ve always been on the lookout for the handled bowl you used as well. Someday I’ll find them.

  22. Amanda says:

    Joumana, many thanks for this beautiful recipe and the gorgeous pics too. I’ve been successful with getting the crust on the rice once or twice – but I’m never completely confident about it.

  23. weirdcombos says:


    Najmieh’s rice recipes are incredible and your dish looks magnificent too! I like the fact you have streamlined the process here. They do tend to be very time consuming. Steven has cooked several of her recipes and we keep going back for more!

  24. domi says:

    Quel riz délicieux et si délicatement parfumé, comme tu dis un vrai repas de roi…

  25. sheri says:

    this recipe looks amazing! how do you prepare the slivered carrots and orange peel? thanks!

    • Joumana says:

      @sherri: the carrots I simply shredded in my food processor (or use the biggest hole in your box grater); the oranges, I peeled with a vegetable peeler, carefully avoiding the white part and then I lined them up and cut them very fine with a sharp knife into one inch long strips (1/8 of an inch for the width), sort of like the carrots. then you place them in a pan and boil them a couple of times in water and drain them each time. At this point, add the carrots and the sugar and more water and boil for 10 minutes. drain and store in a plastic bag in the freezer or use that day or the next day. they will keep in the fridge for 2, 3 days.

  26. Judy says:

    This looks really good! Now all I need is a hearty curry dish to go with it!

  27. Oui, Chef says:

    I often find rice so BORING, I can’t wait to try this fabulous and flavorful looking delicacy.

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