Persian Rice With Barberries (Zereshk Polow)

READY IN: 2hrs 10mins
Recipe by UmmBinat

This is delicious rice! I adore the barberries in this. This is excellent served with Iranian Chicken With Turmeric, Saffron, and Lemon Juice or you can add some cooked chicken as you layer the rice. "There are a couple of different ways to make Zereshk Polow. Some folks layer the rice with zereshk (barberries) and steam them together while others simply make a chelow and add the zereshk on top. Personally, I am a fan of the first method as I think that the polow as a whole tastes better. With this said the zereshk changes color in the steaming process and goes from a gorgeous bright ruby red color to a dull brownish color. So at some point I came up with an idea where I hold on to a little bit of the zereshk and sprinkle it on top of the rice when it’s time to serve it." Modified from a recipe found on

Top Review by COOKGIRl

This recipe is time consuming (mostly passive time thank goodness) and there are many steps to follow. However, if you follow the directions carefully you'll have a truly magical dish for center stage on your dining table. I cannot get Persian rice here which is really unfortunate. Basmati rice was substituted but I am wondering if maybe a medium grain rice is better...? A non-stick pan is ideal to avoid the rice sticking to the bottom. To serve, I placed a serving platter over the top of the pan then carefully (very carefully I must stress!) inverted. Used the recommended advieh recipe you suggested, too. Don't skip any steps and don't omit any ingredients. To accompany baked fish, Recipe #126693 and Recipe #433841. Thank you very much, UmmBinat for sharing this recipe! Reviewed for NA*ME tag and Veg Tag/March.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Wash rice several times until water runs clear.
  2. Soak rice with salt to taste for at least an hour.
  3. Bring a pot of water to a boil add salt to taste and add drained rice.
  4. Once boiling, cook 10 minutes.
  5. While the rice cooks, gently scoop the rice from the bottom of the pot and bring to the surface and release. Do this step several times. NOTE: Do not stir.
  6. Place a colander in the sink. You will want to choose a colander where the holes are small so that the rice won’t escape.
  7. Check the rice to make sure it is cooked. It should be soft and cooked but not mushy. Drain rice in colander.
  8. Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
  9. Pick over the barberries and remove any stones you may find and then soak in water for 5-10 minutes.
  10. Rinse barberries after soaking.
  11. In a skillet melt 1 tablespoon of butter then add the barberries. Add the sugar and give it a nice stir so that the barberries are coated with butter and sugar.
  12. You will see that they will start to plump up! Add 1 tablespoon saffron water and let the barberries absorb the liquid for about one minute. Remove from heat.
  13. Melt remaining butter in a heavy pot, stir in a 1/2 tbs saffron water and a couple large spoons of rice. Pat down somewhat. This will for the tahdig crust.
  14. Sprinkle advieh and top with some barberry mixture.
  15. Repeat layers until the last layer is rice, reserving about 1/4 of a cup of barberries for garnish.
  16. Create 3-4 holes in the rice with the bottom of your spoon.
  17. Cover and cook on medium-high 10 minutes or until crust would be formed but not burnt.
  18. Melt 1 tbs of butter and mix with 1/2 tablespoon of Saffron water and 1 tablespoon of water. Pour all over rice.
  19. Cover tightly and cook 1 hour on low.
  20. Serve rice in a platter and top with the reserved barberries serve with Recipe#427545 for a delicious combination.
  21. Enjoy!

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