Persian Jewelled Rice
Recipe & Photography: Narratives
Dramatic in its brilliant colours from saffron, barberries and pistachios, this elegant Persian jewelled rice can be served as a main course with a simple roast chicken, or served as a side dish. Barberries, once used in cooking in medieval England, are available from Iranian food shops, where they are sold dried and known as zereshk. They have a very tart flavour and need de-stemming and rinsing before using. This dish can also be served cold.
- 75g (10oz) basmati rice
- 18-20 saffron threads
- 1 tblsp boiling water
- 1 rounded tsp cardamom pods 1 rounded tsp coriander seeds 40mls (1 1/2 oz) olive oil
- 25g (1oz) barberries
- 50g (2oz) dried cranberries 100g (4oz) raisins
- 50g (2oz) pistachio nuts, peeled Salt & freshly ground black pepper
- Wash the rice in several changes of cold water and drain well. Mix the saffron with the boiling water and leave to stand for 10 minutes.
- Add the rice to a large pan of salted boiling water with the cardamom and coriander. Bring it back to the boil and boil for 8-10 minutes, when the rice should be soft on the outside but still rm in the centre. Drain in a colander.
- Put the oil in a pan, add the barberries, cranberries, raisins and pistachios over a medium heat and saute for 1 minute to plump up the fruits. Stir in the rice along with the saffron liquid, season well and mix until piping hot. Serve.
Advance preparation: only if serving cold, make the jewelled rice up to 1 day before, cover and chill. Do not reheat cooked rice or freeze.