- 400 g basmati rice
- 1⁄4 t saffron, soaked in 1⁄4 cup of boiling water
- 40 g currants
- 40 g dried cranberries
- 65 g dried apricots
- 90 g unsalted butter
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 90 g butter
- A pinch ground cinnamon
- A pinch ground cardamom
- A pinch ground cumin
- A pinch ground allspice
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 40 g almond flakes
- 40 g pistachios, roughly chopped
Rinse the rice until the water runs clear. Bring 3 litres of water to a boil and add 2 T salt. Stir in the rice and boil, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Drain well.
Pour boiling water over the dried fruit, then drain and set aside. Finely chop the apricots.
Gently soften the onion in 1 T butter until pale golden. Moisten with 1 T saffron water, then stir in the spices and a twist of pepper. Stir in the dried fruit.
Gently heat 60 g butter in a heavy, ovenproof casserole. Add half the parboiled rice, spreading it evenly. Cover with the spiced onion and fruit mixture. Top with the remaining rice. Leave over a gentle heat, uncovered, for 5 minutes to gently brown the rice. Do not stir.
Drizzle over the remaining saffron water, cover tightly and cook over a very gentle heat for 30 minutes without any interference. Turn o the heat and rest for 10 minutes.
Gently toast the nuts in the remaining butter until pale golden. Turn the rice onto a platter and sprinkle over the nuts.
Cook's note: Persian 'jewelled rice' is named for its gemstone colours - golden saffron, ruby cranberries, emerald pistachios and pearl-white almonds...
Some versions of this celebratory dish are more complex, adding caramelised carrots, orange peel and orange blossom water, but I find this recipe by chef, food writer and cookbook author David Tanis splendid enough