Barberry Rice

READY IN: 1hr 10mins
Recipe by pattikay in L.A.

From the food and cooking of Spain, Africa and the middle east. Barberries can be found in middle eastern or international markets. Currants or dried cranberries could probably be substituted if you can't find them - but they're worth finding, as they lend a distinct tartness that goes well with the other flavors. (prep time does not include time needed to soak rice beforehand if you choose to do that, though I describe a shortcut method in the directions, as did a reviewer)

Top Review by UmmBinat

Beautiful looking, fragrant tasting and smelling rice in which I used Iranian saffron, Spanish saffron pales in comparison in all factors (look, smell, & taste). I originally saw this recipe on another site in which the poster used currents. I had some that I didn't know what to do with, so that is what I used. I think next time I would use dark raisins, any sweet raisin would work (yes there are unsweet raisins, green Iranian raisins, I just picked up while purchasing the barberries at a Persian shop. I used the original instructions without rinsing the rice. I used sea salt, and sprinkled the fruit mixture on top of the rice near the end of cooking time. A tip to get the crust out in one piece is to dip the bottom of the pot in a sink with a bit of cold water to cover the bottom for 30 seconds before flipping. I think this would be good with chicken and understand that is what it is served with in the Persian manner. I may make this again.

Ingredients Nutrition


  2. (alternative, quicker directions below).
  3. Wash the barberries in cold water to rinse.
  4. Heat 1 T of butter in a small frying pan and stir fry the raisins for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add the barberries, stir fry for a few seconds and then add the sugar and half of the cinnamon and cumin.
  6. Cook briefly and set aside.
  7. Drain the rice and then boil it in a pan of salted water for 5 minutes, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes till almost cooked.
  8. Drain and rinse the rice in lukewarm water and wash and dry the pan.
  9. Heat half of the remaining butter in the pan, add 1 T water and stir in half of the rice.
  10. Blend the reserved rice with the remaining cinnamon and cumin and sprinkle over the top of the rice mixture.
  11. Dribble the remaining butter over and cover the pan with a clean dishtowel and secure with a tightly fitting lid, lifting the corners of the cloth back over the lid.
  12. Steam the rice over a very low heat for about 30-40 minutes.
  13. Just before serving, mix 3 T of the rice with the saffron water.
  15. Follow the first steps, through simmering the rice for 10 minutes. This worked nicely for me with just adding in the barberries and currants, sugar and spices that have been sauteed in the butter, along with the remaining butter and spices, stirring it into the almost-cooked rice at this point, putting the lid on and steaming on very low heat for about 20 minutes. The longer you let it steam, the more it develops a nice, slight crustiness.
  16. Spoon the rice on to a large, flat serving dish and sprinkle the saffron rice over the top to garnish.

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