Jewelled rice recipe - Javaher Polow

jewelled rice recipe

Jewelled rice is an absolutely appropriate name for this dish. It is probably one of the most delicious rice dishes I have ever had. From what I understand, different variations of this recipe are made throughout the Middle East. This is my vegetarian take on a Persian version of the recipe.

On my last visit to Iran, it was cooked for me by my cousin's wife who is from Qazvin which is north of Tehran in Iran. I fell in love with it instantly. It made my taste buds go wild. The sweet taste of the nuts and the spices, together with a little burst of the sour barberries, felt like there was a party going on in my mouth. She very kindly sent me the recipe on my return to the UK, but as I do not eat meat very much, I have modified it to suit vegetarians. 

If you're not a vegetarian, this delicious rice can be served with red meat, fish or poultry on the side. I've served it with chicken or lamb kebabs a few times and they compliment the rice beautifully. However, it is so delicious and full of flavour that I think it doesn't really need any accompaniments.

All ingredients in this recipe are easily obtainable from local supermarkets, except the barberries. However, you can buy these online from many online sources. Surprise, surprise, they can be bought from Amazon. Here is the link to start you. But shop around as they could be expensive.

*** WARNING: This recipe is not suitable for those with nut allergy ***



INGREDIENTS

LETS START PREPARING

This recipe serves 4

240g basmati rice
100g flaked almonds
100g unsalted pistachio nuts crushed or cut to small strips
Peel of two large oranges, shredded
50g barberries soaked for 10 min and washed
100g caster sugar
4 cardamom pods, shelled and ground
Small tsp ground cinnamon
A pinch of saffron
40g butter
1/2 tsp salt
40ml vegetable oil for cooking the rice
A cup of hot water

The ingredients

The ingredients


METHOD IN STAGES

Stage 1:

Dissolve the sugar in the hot water to make a syrup and set aside.

Prepare the orange peel: Use a sharp knife or a potato peeler to peel the rind of the oranges. The rind should be without the soft white inner skin. I use a potato peeler from M&S which takes off just the right amount if rind and it is super for this purpose.

Left: Peeling the oranges   Right: Orange shreds being drained after boiling

Left: Peeling the oranges   Right: Orange shreds being drained after boiling

Shred the rind to thin strips (see the above photo - the thinner the better), place the strips in a small pot, cover with plenty of water, bring to boil and cook for 5 minutes. Drain the water and repeat the process one more time. The idea is to get rid of any bitterness of the rind. Return the shredded rind to the pot for the third time, add three desert spoons of the syrup to the rind, bring to boil, reduce the heat and let it cook further for another 5 minutes and let the syrup reduce, leaving the orange rind just moist but not dry. Put this aside. Make sure you warm it up before adding it to the rice at the end.

Stage 2:

Before starting to prepare the berries and the nuts, cook the rice according either to my fluffy rice recipe or a fluffy rice recipe of your choice. The recipe on this blog provides a crispy top which is great to have with this rice. Also, once you have put the rice on, you'll have 25-30 minutes to prepare the rest of the ingredients.

The following stages may seem daunting at start. But once you get used to them, you'll see that they are simpler than even making a stew. The idea is to keep each ingredient separate to make the final assembly pretty and create a wow factor. If you feel like mixing all the ingredients together and adding them to the rice, that is fine, it will still taste good.

OK, here we go....

Stage 3:

Mix together the ground cardamom, ground cinnamon and the saffron in a bowl. Melt the butter in the microwave and pour it over the spices. Set this aside and allow it to infuse.

Infusing the spices in melted butter

Infusing the spices in melted butter

Stage 4:

Put the flaked almond in a flat heavy based frying pan and dry roast the almond for a minute, as soon as the aroma of the nuts comes through (do not burn or over roast), add a desert spoon of the syrup together with a tea spoon of the spicy butter, stir and put this aside. The nuts should be slightly sweet, spicy and moist.

Repeat the same process as the almond flakes with the pistachio nuts, except the pistachio nuts do not need roasting. Set this aside. The pistachio should also be slightly sweet, spicy and moist.

Put the soaked and washed barberries in a small pot, add a couple of desert spoons of the syrup and a tea spoon of the spicy butter and cook for a couple of minutes, until the barberries begin to swell. Set this aside. The berries also should be juicy, soft and moist.

Keep each of these ingredients in a separate bowl ready for assembly when the rice is cooked. Place them in an oven at very low heat while preparing the other parts (they don't need further cooking) to keep them warm.

Final stage, Assembly:

The fruit and nuts preparation should take about 25-30 minutes. By now the rice should be ready.

If you are using my fluffy rice recipe, you would have turned it over on a large plate and would have crispy bread on the top. Remove the crispy bread pices, and put them on a heated plate to serve with the rice. 

Place a layer of rice on a serving plate, dish or bowl (not less than 27 cm diam.). Then sprinkle a desert spoon of the barberries, the orange peel, the almond and the pistachio nuts. Drizzle over a tea spoon of the butter and spices. 

Repeat the process two more times. Then put a layer of rice on the top. Finish off the dish by arranging the remainder of the fruit and nuts as shown in the main photo below. You can create any pattern that you wish, the fruit and nuts always make the dish very colourful and pretty.  It is a show stopper.

If you have any spicy butter left, drizzel it over the top. Serve while hot

jewelled rice recipe

ENJOY...

I love this jewelled rice recipe and would love to hear your views. If you have any questions regarding the preparation of this dish, please drop me a line below.


RECIPE WITHOUT PHOTOS


LETS START PREPARING

This recipe serves 4

240g basmati rice
100g flaked almonds
100g unsalted pistachio nuts crushed or cut to small strips
Peel of two large oranges, shredded
50g barberries soaked for 10 min and washed
100g caster sugar
4 cardamom pods, shelled and ground
Small tsp ground cinnamon
A pinch of saffron
40g butter
1/2 tsp salt
40ml vegetable oil for cooking the rice
A cup of hot water

Stage 1:

Dissolve the sugar in the hot water to make a syrup and set aside.

Prepare the orange peel: Use a sharp knife or a potato peeler to peel the rind of the oranges. The rind should be without the soft white inner skin. I use a potato peeler from M&S which takes off just the right amount if rind and it is super for this purpose.

Shred the rind to thin strips (see the above photo - the thinner the better), place the strips in a small pot, cover with plenty of water, bring to boil and cook for 5 minutes. Drain the water and repeat the process one more time. The idea is to get rid of any bitterness of the rind. Return the shredded rind to the pot for the third time, add three desert spoons of the syrup to the rind, bring to boil, reduce the heat and let it cook further for another 5 minutes and let the syrup reduce, leaving the orange rind just moist but not dry. Put this aside. Make sure you warm it up before adding it to the rice at the end.

Stage 2:

Before starting to prepare the berries and the nuts, cook the rice according either to my fluffy rice recipe or a fluffy rice recipe of your choice. The recipe on this blog provides a crispy top which is great to have with this rice. Also, once you have put the rice on, you'll have 25-30 minutes to prepare the rest of the ingredients.

The following stages may seem daunting at start. But once you get used to them, you'll see that they are simpler than even making a stew. The idea is to keep each ingredient separate to make the final assembly pretty and create a wow factor. If you feel like mixing all the ingredients together and adding them to the rice, that is fine, it will still taste good.

OK, here we go....

Stage 3:

Mix together the ground cardamom, ground cinnamon and the saffron in a bowl. Melt the butter in the microwave and pour it over the spices. Set this aside and allow it to infuse.

Stage 4:

Put the flaked almond in a flat heavy based frying pan and dry roast the almond for a minute, as soon as the aroma of the nuts comes through (do not burn or over roast), add a desert spoon of the syrup together with a tea spoon of the spicy butter, stir and put this aside. The nuts should be slightly sweet, spicy and moist.

Repeat the same process as the almond flakes with the pistachio nuts, except the pistachio nuts do not need roasting. Set this aside. The pistachio should also be slightly sweet, spicy and moist.

Put the soaked and washed barberries in a small pot, add a couple of desert spoons of the syrup and a tea spoon of the spicy butter and cook for a couple of minutes, until the barberries begin to swell. Set this aside. The berries also should be juicy, soft and moist.

Keep each of these ingredients in a separate bowl ready for assembly when the rice is cooked. Place them in an oven at very low heat while preparing the other parts (they don't need further cooking) to keep them warm.

Final stage, Assembly:

The fruit and nuts preparation should take about 25-30 minutes. By now the rice should be ready.

If you are using my fluffy rice recipe, you would have turned it over on a large plate and would have crispy bread on the top. Remove the crispy bread pices, and put them on a heated plate to serve with the rice. 

Place a layer of rice on a serving plate, dish or bowl (not less than 27 cm diam.). Then sprinkle a desert spoon of the barberries, the orange peel, the almond and the pistachio nuts. Drizzle over a tea spoon of the butter and spices. 

Repeat the process two more times. Then put a layer of rice on the top. Finish off the dish by arranging the remainder of the fruit and nuts as shown in the main photo below. You can create any pattern that you wish, the fruit and nuts always make the dish very colourful and pretty.  It is a show stopper.

If you have any spicy butter left, drizzel it over the top. Serve while hot.


SOME USEFUL INFORMATION

You can also sprinkle barberries over plan rice to provide colour and sharp taste. Iranians use barbarises in many different dishes. I'll upload more recipes with barberries in the future. Watch this space.