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persian jeweled rice on white plate over woven cloth

Persian Jeweled Rice

  • Author: Paula Montenegro
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 40
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 2-3 servings 1x
  • Category: Grains & Legumes
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: International


Delicious and colorful, it's full of flavor and much easier to make than it looks.



  • 1 cup whole wheat Basmati rice
  • 6 Tbs unsalted butter (divided)
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • Large pinch saffron threads (crumbled and soaked in ¼ cup hot water)
  • Large pinch ground cinnamon
  • Large pinch ground allspice
  • 7 or 8 cardamom pods
  • ½ teaspoon  cumin seeds
  • Large pinch ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup  chopped dried apricots
  • ¼ cup currants
  • ¼ cup chopped dried black figs
  • 1/3 cup slivered ( toasted almonds)
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped pistachios


  1. Ground the cardamom pods with the cumin seeds in a nut/coffee grinder or a mortar.
  2. Rinse the rice a few times under cold water. Cook in salted water for about 15 minutes, until al dente (more than half done).
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a skillet big enough to accommodate the rice, and add the onion. Salt lightly and cook for a few minutes over medium heat until lightly colored.
  4. Add a tablespoon of the saffron water and all of the spices. Cook for 1 minute and transfer to a plate or small bowl.
  5. In the same skillet, melt the remaining butter, add half the rice and lower the heat. Without touching the rice at all, let cook until the bottom starts sizzling and the rice begins to turn brown.
  6. Add the apricots and currants on top, cover with the rest of the rice, drizzle the saffron water and cover the skillet.
  7. Turn the heat to the lowest setting and cook for about 30 minutes, until the rice is soft. It may take longer, check the rice.
  8. Turn off the heat and let rest for 10 minutes.
  9. Transfer to the serving plate, and sprinkle with the figs, almonds and pistachios.
  10. Serve immediately.


If you use white Basmati rice, the parboiling will take less time, between 5 and 10 minutes.

Keywords: persian rice, jewel rice