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3.25 from 4 votes

Persian Jeweled Rice

Author: Samantha Ferraro


  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 1 onion sliced thin (I used red, but white will do)
  • 1 cup dried apricots chopped
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup pistachio roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot peeled, and cut into small match sticks.
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup red raisins
  • Large pinch of saffron soaked in 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 3 Tb butter
  • 2 Tb olive oil
  • 2 Tb yogurt
  • Kosher salt if needed


  • First, in a small bowl soak a generous pinch of saffron in warm water. Allow to soak while setting up other ingredients.
  • Place rice in a bowl and wash rice, rinsing several times until clear there is clear water. Fill up with water again and add a generous pinch of salt. Allow to soak for 20 minutes.
  • When ready, boil rice for 7-8 min. Rice should be "al dente" and be soft on the outside and hard inside. Drain rice and set aside.
  • Next, using a vegetable peeler, peel orange skin into long strips. Use a small paring knife to cut off the inside white pith (this is bitter). Then cut the orange strips into thinner strips. Soak these in water and rinse 3 times, which helps cut the bitterness.
  • To make the candied orange peel and carrots, in another small pot, bring 1/2 c sugar and 1/2 c water to a boil. Add orange strips and carrot strips and boil for 15 minutes on low. When done, set aside.
  • In a separate pan, saute sliced onion in 1 Tb butter and oil until caramelized. About 10 minutes. Add turmeric and mix together well.
  • To the onion mixture, add raisins, dried apricots, cumin and cardamom. Mix everything together and cook for another 2 minutes to cook off the spices.
  • Add candied carrot and orange mixture to the fruit and onions and toss well.
  • Next, add the pistachios and almonds and toss to coat. Drizzle 1 Tb saffron water (that has been soaking). Toss everything together and set aside.
  • Melt 2Tb butter and a good drizzle of olive oil in a large pot. Then, in a small bowl, mix 1/4 c of reserved rice with 2 Tb of yogurt and 1 Tb saffron water. Place the rice mixture on the bottom of the large pot. This will help form a "tah-dig" to get a crispy bottom.
  • Next, it's time to layer. Add 1/3 of rice mixture, then 1/3 of fruit and nut mixture and continue until everything is used. Be sure to make a "pyramid" shape as you layer the rice.
  • Use the back of a large wooden spoon to make holes in the rice. This will allow the steam to escape and ensure in a crispy bottom. Then, drizzle the rest of the saffron water on top + 1/2 cup water.
  • Before closing the pot with a lid, wrap the lid in a towel and then close. The towel will help catch the moisture so the bottom will be crispy. Cook with lid on for 30 minutes on low flame.
  • When ready, spoon rice and fruit mixture on a platter and serve.