David Tanis’s Persian Jeweled Rice

This dish is called jeweled rice because it is golden and glistening, laced with butter and spices and piled with nuts and gem-colored fruits. In Iran, it is typically served at weddings or other celebrations. Great platters of it appear at banquets. It also goes beautifully with a weeknight roast chicken.

You will probably need to do a little shopping to make this traditional dish. But it is well worth it, and most good supermarkets can supply what you require.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups best-quality Basmati rice
  • Kosher salt
  • Unsalted butter, 6 tablespoons in total
  • 1 large onion, diced small
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled and soaked in 1/4 cup hot water
  • Large pinch ground cinnamon
  • Large pinch ground cardamom
  • Large pinch ground allspice
  • Large pinch ground black pepper
  • Large pinch ground cumin
  • cup chopped dried apricots
  • cup golden raisins or currants
  • cup dried imported barberries or goji berries, soaked in warm water for 5 minutes and drained (or use 1/3 cup dried cherries or dried cranberries)
  • cup blanched slivered almonds
  • cup roughly chopped pistachios.
  • Nutritional Information
    • Nutritional analysis per serving (6 servings)

      477 calories; 18 grams fat; 8 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 6 grams monounsaturated fat; 2 grams polyunsaturated fat; 73 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams dietary fiber; 14 grams sugars; 8 grams protein; 30 milligrams cholesterol; 271 milligrams sodium

    • Note: Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available data.

6 servings

Preparation

  1. Rinse the rice several times in cold water until the water runs clear. Drain. Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a large pot with 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Add the rinsed rice and boil, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, then drain well in a colander.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, season lightly with salt and cook until softened and lightly colored, 4 to 5 minutes. Moisten with 1 tablespoon saffron water and stir in the cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, black pepper and cumin. Cook for 1 minute more. Stir in the apricots, raisins (or currants) and barberries (or cherries or cranberries).
  3. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a heavy-bottomed enamel or nonstick Dutch oven over medium heat. Spread half the par-cooked rice over the bottom of the pot. Spoon over the onion-fruit mixture, then the remaining rice. Leave the pot on the flame, uncovered, for 5 to 8 minutes to gently brown the rice. (Do not stir or move the rice — you will need to rely on your nose to tell if the rice has browned.)
  4. Drizzle the remaining saffron water over the rice and put on the lid. Adjust the heat to very low and leave undisturbed for 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and let rest at least 10 minutes.
  5. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a small skillet over medium-low heat and gently toast the almonds and pistachios for a minute or so, taking care not to get them too brown. Set aside for garnish.
  6. To serve, spoon the rice into a wide bowl or platter. With a spatula, carefully lift the bottom crust, placing the crisp side up. Sprinkle with the toasted nuts.

About 1 hour 15 minutes

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