Stunning Javaher Polow - Persian Jewelled Rice

Recipe by Um Safia
READY IN: 1hr 22mins




  • Cut the rind of the oranges in long strips, avoid the white pith.
  • Peel a large carrot and continue to peel the flesh to obtain long, flat carrot strips. You can also use a very flat knife with a very steady hand or a mandoline.
  • Julienne the orange strips - cut sideways into tiny sticks. These will stand out on the rice like tiny orange jewels. You could also cut them in diamond shapes - that would be in the dish's spirit.
  • In a small saucepan combine the orange rind with 3 cups water and bring to a boil. Strain. This step helps getting rid of the rind's bitterness.
  • Combine one cup sugar with one cup water (picture), bring to a boil and add both orange rind and carrot strips. Boil gently for 10 minutes, strain and reserve. This process partially candies the orange and carrot.
  • Jeweled rice called has to be made with the magical spice mix called advieh. For this recope, make it fresh by grinding the cinnamon, cumin seeds, dried rosebuds & green cardamom pods (seeds only - remove the husk).
  • Wash the rice in twice its volume in water, wash and strain. Do this as many times as needed for the water to be totally transparent.
  • Boil the rice in salted water until it softens but remains slightly crunchy, 9-12 minutes. Stir to ensure grains are fully separated, strain and reserve.
  • Melt 2 tbsp butter in a large pan with a tight fitting lid. This is important as it will prevent the rice crust from sticking - add more rather than less. Mix 4 tbsp of the partly boiled rice with 1 tbsp yoghurt and a drop of saffron water. Spread this mixture in a layer at the bottom. It will turn into a delicious golden crust, the hallmark of Persian rice dishes.
  • Cover the rice-yoghurt layer with two ladles of rice and add a fourth of the orange-carrot strips. Sprinkle some advieh (the spice mix) on top, and add another layer of rice and continue like before until you run out of ingredients. Try to shape the rice into a hill inside the pan so it will have room to expand.
  • Add a generous amount of advieh on top and pour the rest of the melted butter and saffron water and half a cup water. Cover tightly, possibly using a towel wrapped all around the top of the pot to prevent any leakage. Cook over low heat for about 45 minutes.
  • While the rice finishes cooking, prepare the garnish.
  • Soak 1 cup barberries and half a cup raisins into 2 cups warm water for 20 minutes. Thinly slice an onion and gently fry it in 2 tbs/25 gr butter until soft and brown.
  • Add the strained barberries and raisins and cook for one more minute. Reserve.
  • On a baking tray place the almonds and, if you want, the pistachios. Toast for about 10-15 minutes at 180°C while watching them continually. Nuts are easily overtoasted! Alternatively, you can gently fry them in a non-stick pan with a little oil or no oil.
  • Prepare a large serving platter, if possible of Persian or at least Arab origin. Carefully pile the rice in a nicely shaped mound and garnish with the Berberis/pomegranite -raisin-onion mixture and nuts.
  • Scatter a few rose petals over the top & serve.
  • Note: A good deal of what makes this dish royal is its presentation. Be careful when laying the berberis on top and take some time to make a nice ring of nuts all around the rice. The rice at the bottom of the pot will form a delicious golden crust, crunchy and flavored with saffron. This is the part Persians all desire, they call it tah-dig. Scrape it and serve one piece on each plate.