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Jewelled Saffron Rice

A rich golden rice dish loaded with saffron, nuts & gem–coloured fruits. This dish is typically served at Persian celebrations & is the perfect accompaniment with Hamed’s Persian Pomegranate Chicken

  • Time: 90 minutes
  • Serves: 6-8 people


Long grain basmati rice
3 cups
Round Lebanese flatbread
Olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
¼ cup
1 tablespoon
Persian dried barberries (optional)
½ cup
Slithered or whole shelled pistachios
½ cup
½ gram
1 tablespoon

Download the recipe


  1. Wash & soak the rice in cold salted water for 1 hour. Fill a medium pot halfway with water & bring to boil. Drain & rinse the rice & add to the boiling water (approx 4 ½ cups) & cook until just tender but still undercooked. Drain the par–cooked rice.

  2. Once the rice is prepared, in a separate small pot, heat ¼ cup olive oil over high heat Place the round of Lebanese flatbread onto the base of the pot, then cover with rice. Cover the pot with a tea-towel-wrapped lid & cook for 1 minute on high heat, then reduce heat to low & cook for a further 20 minutes. This method will make the bread crispy, known as “tahdig”.

  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a separate pan over low heat & gently fry barberries & pistachios for 2 minutes. Take care not to burn the barberries. Set aside to cool.

  4. Grind saffron with a little sugar in a mortar & pestle. Transfer to a cup & dissolve with a little boiling water.

  5. Once rice is cooked, combine ⅓ of it in a separate bowl with the dissolved saffron. Transfer remaining rice onto a serving platter, top with saffron rice, then scatter with barberries & pistachios.

  6. Remove crispy flatbread round from pot & break or slice into pieces. Serve alongside rice.

Cook’s Notes:
Barberries can be found in most Persian, Indian, or Middle Eastern supermarkets or specialty nut shops.