Iranian jeweled rice called javaher polow in Farsi is as beautiful as it is delicious. Polow or rice of all types is loved in Persian cuisine and served with every meal. This recipe is no exception. Aptly named, as pomegranate arils, barberries, orange peel, raisins, nuts and oh yes saffron, adorn it. This rice takes a bit of effort but to feel like royalty, well let’s just say it is totally worth the effort. Enjoy!
Iranian Jeweled Rice (Javaher Polow)
- 2 cups Basmati rice
- Kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 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
- ⅓ cup chopped dried apricots
- ⅓ cup golden raisins or currants
- ⅓ cup dried imported barberries or goji berries soaked in warm water for 5 minutes and drained (or use 1/3 cup dried cherries or cranberries)
- ⅓ cup slivered almonds
- ⅓ cup roughly chopped pistachios.
- 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
- 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.
- Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, season lightly with salt and cook until softened.
- Add in 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.
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 and pomegranate arils.