Bahraini Sweet Rice (Muhammar)

Total Time
Prep 15 mins
Cook 28 mins

Wonderful, aromatic and flavourful! The best Muhammar I have made and I have tried a number! Very important to use a cast iron pan or heavy pan and lots of butter to form the crust part properly, this makes it way more flavourful as well. This is very good served with Gulf Arabian fish or shrimp dishes as it is traditional. Modified from a recipe found on A great example this rice goes with is Fish in Persian Sweet-And-Sour Sauce.

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 236.59 ml basmati rice, rinsed in cold water
  • 59.14 ml date molasses (date syrup, dibs tamar in Arabic, found in Middle Eastern shops)
  • 1.23 ml saffron, ground (I use a mortar and pestle. Iranian saffron is definitely superior in taste and colour)
  • 3.69 ml cardamom, freshly ground
  • 4.92 ml rose water (I prefer Iranian, I find flower waters vary quite a bit in quality)
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 59.16 ml butter, a lot is needed to form the sought after crust (or ghee, (or more)


  1. Combine, saffron, freshly ground cardamom and rose water in a small cup.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil with sea salt to taste. Add the rice and boil uncovered for precisely 8 minutes, then drain.
  3. Mix the date molasses with the rice, then mix in the rose water mixture.
  4. Choose a medium sized heavy bottomed pot (I use a cast iron pan, see intro). Melt the butter in it over medium heat. Add 2 spatula-fulls of rice and mix with the butter, patting down to cover the bottom of the dish. Pile the reminder of the rice in a loose cone shape and poke a few holes in the rice with the spoon handle. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of water over the rice, then cover tightly. Place over medium low heat and let cook for 20-25 minutes. Keep a close eye at the end as the rice can burn (use your nose to see if it begins to smell burned).
  5. The easiest way to unmold the rice is to prepare a sinkful of cold water, dip the bottom of the pot in cold water for about 30 seconds, then invert the pot onto a serving platter. If the rice crust does not release fully, simply break up the crunchy pieces that stuck to the pot and scatter over top.
  6. Serve with recipe#443922 or a Gulf Arabian fish or shrimp dish.
  7. Enjoy!
Most Helpful

I had forgotten how much I LOVE complex (but not difficult) Middle Eastern recipes. This is outstanding. THANKS FOR SHARING UmmBinat

pmegeed December 05, 2010

This came out beautiful. Crispy, sweet and so yummy. I used 1/4 teaspoon cardamom. I used Date Syrup for the date syrup ingredient. Delish!

Rita~ January 19, 2011

Definitely five stars, this is SO good! I used organic date syrup and ghee - wonderful side to Fish in Persian Sweet-And-Sour Sauce. Will make this again for sure, thanks for sharing!
Made for Welcome to Bahrain / N*A*M*E Forum.

Mia in Germany April 25, 2012