Persian jewelled rice recipe

The textures, colour and flavour of this rice make it an almost stand-alone dish. Where in summer and autumn I cook Broad bean pilaf, in the winter and spring I cook this - one of my favourite things to eat with any strong-flavoured fish or meat. It's perfect with Duck curry. 

You can also replace the rice with bulgar wheat, and add pomegranate seeds or pink grapefruit segments to ring the changes. For decoration, add some primroses or gold-laced polyanthus on top - both table flowers.

For 4-6

  • 50g dried cranberries
  • 60g raisins, or a mixture of raisins, sultanas and chopped dried apricots
  • 250g basmati rice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom pods, dry-fried
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, dry-fried
  • 600ml hot chicken stock
  • 50g pistachio nuts, dry-fried
  • salt and black pepper

Put the cranberries and raisins into a jug and pour over enough boiling water to cover. Soak for 20 minutes, then drain well.

Wash the basmati rice in several changes of cold water, until the water is no longer cloudy. Drain well. 

Put the olive oil into a pan and heat gently. Add the onion and saute until soft. Add the rice, cinnamon stick, cardamom and coriander, stirring well to ensure all the grains get coated in the oil.

Pour in the stock, bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and cook with the lid on for 15-20 minutes, until all the liquid has evaporated. Take off the heat and stir in the cranberries, raisins and pistachio nuts. Taste and season with salt and black pepper. Serve hot and cold.

This recipe appears on p67 of Sarah's Food for Friends and Family.