Jeweled Rice (Persian Wedding Rice)

1 lb Basmati Rice
1/2 Cup Dried Barberries, Thinly Sliced
1/2 Cup Almonds, Thinly Sliced
1/2 Cup Pistachios, Thinly sliced
1/2 Cup Black Raisans
1/2 Cup Orange Marmalade/Peel, Thinly Sliced
2 tsp Saffron
6 Tbsp Butter
4 Tbsp Sugar
Salt and Pepper
  1. Dissolve the saffron threads in 4 tablespoons boiling water water and set aside to soak.  This will go on top of the rice once the rice is prepared and ready to be served.
  2. Place basmati rince in large bowl and fill with water.  Wash 2-3 times by draining water and filled bowl with water again.  The last time you fill the bowl with water do not drain/wash and add salt.  Set aside for 2-3 hours.
  3. After 2-3 hours has passed, fill a NON-STICK pot with water half way and bring to boil.  Drain salt water out of bowl and add basmati rice to boiling water pour 1 tbsp of olive oil and continue to boil for about 10-15 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, in another pan, melt butter (leaving 2 tablespoons aside) and add sugar and heat until dissolved.  One by one start to add barberries, almonds, pistachios, and raisans side by side so they don't touch.  If needed use two pans.  This is important for the presentation later on.  Cook on low heat just to heat each item.  Warm marmalade or orange peal in microwave for short time on low heat.
  5. Drain rice in strainer.  Place pot back onto medium heat and add the half of remaining olive oil to the bottom of the pot.  Add drained rice back to pot and add the remainder of olive oil on top of rice.
  6. Cover the lid of the pan with a cloth and cover the pan tightly.  On medium heat, cook rice for about 30-45 minutes or until rice is completely coooked and soft and the a golden rice crust form at the bottom of the pan.  Make sure you don't overcook the rice or burn the bottom crust.  Monitor rice at this point.
  7. Once rice is cooked place, carefully laddle into large serving tray.  With a spoor or laddle, start adding saffron mixture to rice in horizontal or vertical pattern.  Then one by one add barberries, almonds, pistachios, raisans, and orange peel in a similar vertical/horizontal pattern so every ingredient on top of the rice is lined up side by side.  The presentation of this rice is extemely important for Persians as this is usually served to large groups at celebrations i.e. engagements and weddings therefore depending on creativity the rice can become very beautifully designed.   
  8. Once complete in a small pan melt additional butter.  Pour over the rice.  You can also use some extra virgin olive oil.  This gives the additional "jeweled" look to the mixtures on top of the rice.

Serve immediate with cooked chicken breast, leg or thigh.

Serves 8-10.