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Javaher Polow | Persian Jeweled Rice

This month, International Food Challenge is taking us to Iran and we are exploring Iranian / Persian cuisine, hosted by Savitha of Savitha's Kiitchen. Situated in the Middle East, the Iranian culinary style is unique to Iran, though is influenced from Iran's neighboring regions. Fresh green herbs and fruits such as plums, pomegranates, prunes, apricots, and raisins are frequently used. A typical Persian main dish is a combination of meat or fish with some vegetables, nuts and herbs. To achieve a balanced taste, characteristic Persian flavorings such as saffron, dried limes, cinnamon, and parsley are mixed delicately and used in some special dishes.

Javaher Polow or jeweled rice is a traditional rice served at Persian weddings and celebrations. Its made of dried fruits and nuts representing various gemstones. Saffron, carrots and orange peel make gold, barberries/cranberries make rubies, pistachios make emeralds and almonds make pearls. The flavors infused into the rice with saffron and orange blossom water are beautiful. The bottom layer of this rice forms a crust called tahdig and is considered a delicacy. Since the jeweled rice is slightly sweet, a spicy curry would be the perfect accompaniment.


{ Rice with dried fruits, nuts, orange flavored with saffron and orange blossom water }
Recipe Source ~ The Kitchn
Serves 2-3


1 cup long-grain white basmati rice
4 tsp salt
1 medium orange
3 tbsp dried barberries or chopped unsweetened dried cranberries
½ tsp saffron
3 tbsp granulated sugar
4 tsp orange blossom water
2 tsp oil, butter or ghee
2 tbsp sliced raw almonds, toasted
2 tbsp chopped raw pistachios, toasted
2 tbsp golden or green raisins
1 large carrot, cut into 2-inch long matchsticks
1-inch cinnamon stick
½ tsp cardamom powder


1. Wash the rice in a large container of water until the water runs clear. Cover again with water, add 2 tsp salt and soak for 1 hour. Drain and set aside.

2. Set a small pot of water to boil. Using a vegetable peeler, peel off thick strips of rind off the oranges, including a little of the white pith. Slice these strips into very small slivers.

3. When the water is boiling, drop the slivers into the water and cook 1 minute. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

4. Clean the barberries and place them in a sieve set inside a bowl. Cover with cold water and soak for 20 minutes. Pull the sieve and rinse under cold water. Set aside. If using cranberries, skip this step.

5. In a mortar and pestle, crush the saffron threads with a few pinches of sugar until a powder forms. Stir in 3 tsp of orange blossom water and set aside.

6. Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the almonds, pistachios and sauté for a minute. Add the raisins and toss with the nuts. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

7. Heat 2 tsp of the saffron orange blossom water mixture, 1 tsp sugar and 1 tsp oil over medium heat in the same pan. Add the carrots and orange peel and sauté for 2 minutes.

8. Add the remaining sugar, the remaining saffron orange blossom water mixture, the cinnamon stick and the cardamom and sauté for 1 minute.

9. Add 1 cup water, bring to a boil. Lower to medium heat and cook for about 10 minutes or until the carrots lightly caramelize and the liquid has reduced to a syrup. Drain the carrots and orange peel and reserve the syrup.

10. In a large heavy-bottomed pot with a lid, bring 3-4 cups of water to a boil. Add the remaining 2 tsp salt, rice, remaining 1 tsp plain orange blossom water to the pot.

11. Boil briskly until the rice has risen to the surface and when bitten into, a grain of rice feels soft, 6 to 10 minutes. Drain the rice and rinse with cold water.

12. Transfer and turn it to a bowl and gently mix the remaining saffron orange blossom water and the reserved carrot/orange syrup.

13. Take a large spoonful of rice at a time and gently spread it over the bottom of the pot. Give the pot a shake to even out the base. Add more spoonfuls of rice, gradually shaping it into a pyramid.

14. Wrap the lid of the pot with a clean dish towel and cover firmly to prevent steam from escaping. Cook 20 minutes over low heat.

15. To serve, arrange on a serving platter layers of rice, then the caramelized carrot - orange peel, cranberries and nut mixture.

Notes and Tips
  • Cooking the orange rind in hot water cuts down the bitterness, so do not skip it.
  • Discard the cinnamon stick from the carrot-orange syrup.
  • If orange blossom water is not available, try substituting with orange zest, but flavors may vary.


  1. Looks yum and nice pics

  2. rich and scrumptious recipe....

  3. Looks so colorful and healthy

  4. Diffrent and colorful rice!!

  5. as usual superb snap and rice looks yummm.....

  6. Very flavourful and delicious one pot meal, can have it happily anytime.

  7. interesting and falvourful recipe

  8. Wonderful recipe! Looks lovely!

  9. Looks very colorful and delicious rice...very happy to follow u back sona...

  10. True to its name, the pilaf looks so colorful and beautiful..

  11. Delicious and colorful rice. Love it.

  12. like the name of the dish, the rice definitely has got a shine and glaze...looks so drool worthy

  13. Looks delicious... Happy to follow you dear...

  14. rice looks to try it.

  15. delicious and colorful rice


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