Jeweled Rice

Vickie Parks


There are many versions of this recipe, differing primarily in dried fruit and spice choices. It's served throughout the Middle East at special occasions such as weddings and banquets. But it's also great as a side dish with roast chicken.

It's called jeweled rice because it boasts a glistening golden color infused with lots of warm spices and gem-colored fruits. The desired outcome, as the rice cooks covered with a lid, is a crisp 'tah dig' (crust) on the bottom. When served, the coveted crispy layer will be on top.


★★★★★ 1 vote

15 Min
1 Hr
Stove Top


  • 2 cups
    uncooked basmati rice
  • 3 quarts
  • 1 tsp
    kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp
    saffron threads
  • 1/4 cup
    orange water (or hot water)
  • 6 Tbsp
    unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 large
    onion, diced small
  • 1/4 tsp
    ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp
  • 1/4 tsp
    black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp
    ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp
    ground allspice
  • 1/4 cup
    dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/3 cup
    golden raisins or currants
  • 1/3 cup
    barberries (available online, or you could use dried cranberries or similar bitter berry)
  • 2 Tbsp
  • 1/3 cup
    slivered almonds
  • 1/3 cup
    pistachio nuts, roughly chopped

How to Make Jeweled Rice


  1. Rinse rice several times under cool running water until water runs clear; let drain. Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven with about a teaspoon of salt. Add rinsed rice and let boil, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, then drain in a colander.
  2. Soak saffron in orange water (or hot water), and set aside.
  3. In a small skillet, heat 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add onion with a few pinches of salt, and cook until the onions are softened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon saffron water, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, black pepper, and cumin. Cook for another minute. Stir in apricots, raisins (or currants) and barberries (or cherries or cranberries).
  4. Add yogurt and 4 Tbsp butter to a heavy-duty saucepan or Dutch oven and allow butter to melt, stirring occasionally to combine butter and yogurt. Spread half of the par-boiled rice over the bottom of the pot. Spoon the onion mixture over the rice layer, then top with the remaining rice. Leave the pot over the flame, uncovered, for 5 to 8 minutes to brown slightly. (Don't stir or mix the rice).
  5. Drizzle remaining saffron water over the rice, place the lid over the pot, and reduce heat to very low and leave pot undisturbed for 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and let stand for 10 minutes.
  6. In the meantime, heat 1 tablespoon butter in a small skillet over medium-low heat, and gently toast the almonds and pistachios for a minute or two, taking care not to let them brown. Set aside for garnish.
  7. To serve, spoon the rice onto a platter. With a spatula, carefully lift the bottom crust, and place rice on platter with the crisp side up. Sprinkle the toasted nuts on top, and serve.

Printable Recipe Card

About Jeweled Rice

Course/Dish: Rice Sides
Main Ingredient: Rice/Grains
Regional Style: Middle Eastern
Dietary Needs: Vegetarian Low Fat Low Sodium

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