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Jeweled Rice (Javaher polow)


  • 3 cups long-grain white basmati rice
  • 1 cup dried barberries
  • 1/2 cup sliced raw almonds
  • 1/4 cup sliced raw pistachios
  • 1/2 cup seedless golden or green raisins
  • 1 teaspoon ground saffron dissolved in 1/4 cup orange blossom water
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 large oranges (1 cup slivered orange peel)
  • 2-3 large carrots (2 cups peeled and cut 3-inch strips)
  • One 4-inch cinnamon stick
  • 2 teaspoons cardamom powder
  • 1 tablespoon orange blossom water


  • Jeweled rice is the queen of Persian dishes. It is made of orange peels, almonds, barberries, and pistachios. As a wedding dish it represents gold, rubies, emeralds, and pearls.
  • 1. Wash the rice by placing it in a large container and covering it with water. Agitate gently with your hand, then pour off the water. Repeat 5 times. To soak the rice, cover with water, add 2 tablespoons salt, and allow to soak for 2 to 24 hours (soaking results in longer grains of rice). Drain in a fine mesh colander. Set aside.
  • 2. Clean barberries by removing the stems and any grit. Place the barberries is a fine-mesh colander, and place the colander in a large container full of COLD water. Allow barberries to soak for 20 minutes. Any sand will settle to the bottom. Take the colander out of the container and run water over the barberries. Drain and set aside.
  • 3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. Add the almonds and the pistachios, and stir-fry for 20 seconds. Add the raisins and give it a stir, transfer to a small bowl, and set aside.
  • 4. In the same skillet, place 1 tablespoon oil, 2 tablespoons water, 2 tablespoons sugar, and the barberries, and stir-fry for 4 minutes over medium heat (beware, barberries burn easily!). Set aside.
  • 5. To remove the bitterness from the orange peel: Drop the orange peel in a sauce pan of boiling water and cook for 1 minute. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  • 6. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots and the orange peel, and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup sugar, a drop of saffron-orange blossom water, the cinnamon, and the cardamom, and stir-fry it for 1 minute. Add 1 cup water, bring to a boil, and cook over medium-high heat for 7 to 10 minutes until lightly caramelized. Drain, reserving the syrup. Set aside.
  • 7. In a large non-stick pot, add 10 cups water and 2 tablespoons salt, and bring to a boil. Pour washed and drained rice into the pot and add 1 tablespoon orange blossom water. Boil briskly for 6 to 10 minutes (depending on the type of basmati rice you are using). Bite a few grains or rice. If the rice feels soft and all of it has risen to the surface, it is ready. Drain the rice in a large, fine-mesh colander and rinse with 2 cups water.
  • 8. To make a golden crust (tah-dig):In a mixing bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup oil, 1/4 cup water, and a few drops of saffron-orange blossom water, 3 spatulas of rice (about 2 cups), and spread the mixture over the bottom of the pot. Give the pot a shake to even out the base.
  • 9. Take 1 spatula full of rice at a time and gently place it on top of the saffron rice mixture, gradually shaping the rice into a pyramid. This shape leaves room for the rice to expand and enlarge. Cover and cook for 10 minutes over medium-high heat.
  • 10. Swirl 1/2 cup water, the remaining oil, and the reserved syrup from step 6 over the rice.
  • 11. Wrap the lid of the pot with a clean dish tower and cover firmly to prevent the steam from escaping. Cook for 70 minutes over low heat.
  • 12. Remove the pot from the heat. Allow to cool on a damp surface for 2 minutes without uncovering it. This helps free the crust from the bottom of the pot. Uncover and loosen the edges with a wooden spoon.
  • 13. Gently take 1 spatula full of rice at a time, use a wooden spatula and don't disturb crust, place it on a serving platter in alternating layers with the caramelized carrot mixture, caramelized barberries, and the almond, pistachio, and raising mixture. Mound the rice in the shape of a cone.
  • 14. Detach the crust from the bottom of the pot using a wooden spatula, place on a small platter, and serve on the side.
  • To make orange slivers, take a large, firm orange and use a peeler to peel thick layers of the skin together with some of the white pith. With a sharp knife, cut the peels into thin strips.
  • To make carrot strips, use large carrots. Peel and cut them into 3-inch lengths. Then cut each length vertically into slices, and finally cut each slice into strips.
  • You can replace barberries with semi-sweet cranberries, in which case you simply sauté without adding any sugar.
  • To oven-toast nuts: Preheat oven at 350°F (180°C), place nuts on a baking sheet, and bake - 8 minutes for almonds, 5 minutes for pistachios.
  • If you are cooking this rice in large quantities, for a wedding for example, you don't need the golden crust, so in step 11, just steam the rice, for 15 minutes. Keep warm until ready to serve.
  • **This recipe is taken from renown Persian chef, Najmieh Batmanglij's "New Food of Life". Available for sale on our site**