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Jewelled Saffron Rice

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Persian
Keyword Le Creuset, Middle Eastern, rice, saffron, vegetarian
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 4


  • 2 cups Basmati rice
  • 6 tbsp Kosher salt
  • 6 tbsp clarified butter (ghee)
  • 1 small white onion sliced thinly
  • 2 pinches saffron threads ground
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup dried barberries can substitute dried cranberries
  • 2 tbsp rosewater
  • 1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped pistachios
  • 1 handful parsley or cilantro for garnish
  • 1 handful pomegranate seeds for garnish


  1. In a large Le Creuset French Oven, bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Add 3 tbsp kosher salt. At the same time, rinse the rice in a colander until the tap water runs clear. Add rice to boiling water, and stir continuously until the grains are parboiled (about halfway cooked, about 5 minutes). Lightly drain and set aside.

  2. Prepare 3 small bowls. In the first, pour ½ cup just-boiled water over saffron threads to soak. In the second, combine rosewater with the raisins. In the third, combine cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, orange zest, apricots and barberries (or cranberries), and a pinch of salt.

  3. In a small non-stick skillet or pan, lightly toast the almonds and pistachios with 1 tbsp of butter. Set aside.

  4. Add another 1 tbsp of butter to the skillet and sautée the onion with a little bit of salt and a tsp of the saffron water. Add in the remaining contents of the two other small bowls (fruits and spices) and stir well to combine.

  5. Going back to the French Oven, bring to medium heat, and melt the rest of the butter to coat the bottom of the pot. Spread half of the parboiled rice over the bottom, followed by half of the onion-fruit-spice mixture, and then the remaining rice. Leave uncovered and cook for 5-8 minutes.

  6. Drizzle the remaining saffron water over the rice and put on the lid. Turn the heat to low and leave on the stove for 30 minutes undisturbed. Top with almonds, pistachios, parsley and pomegranate, or other suitable nuts and fruits of your choice.