Persian rice infused with the luxurious scent of saffron and cardamom – jewelled with crunchy carrot matchsticks, tart dried cranberries and protein-rich chickpeas to create a desilicious show-stopping rice dish. Yes, it’s as good as it looks. 

Persian rice in a round tray surrounded by fresh parsley, grilled eggplant and a traditional fabric

If you’ve never had Persian rice before, you’re in for a real treat! This recipe is perfectly balanced; savoury tones complemented beautifully with the sweet tartness of cranberries. Typically, Persian rice recipes do not include chickpeas. Some use raisins or sultanas as the fruit of choice, while other recipes have no dried fruit at all.

In our home, though, we rarely eat plain rice. You’ll find me adding protein-rich foods or different vegetables to help boost the nutritional content of rice recipes. Plus, adding chickpeas to this creation helps to keep us fuller for longer!

 And let’s not forget to talk about those gorgeous cranberries! Besides adding tartness, cranberries give a lovely festive touch to this desi-licious creation. 

What do you eat with Persian rice?

You could enjoy it “as is” or serve it Persian-style by accompanying with kabobs (Joojeh). 

Rice is an essential component of Persian cuisine; as stews, kebobs and vegetable dishes are served with it. What’s extra special is something known as Tahdig. It’s Persian for “bottom of the pot.” Tahdig is a crispy, golden layer of rice at the bottom of the rice pot. Depending on much oil you add to the bottom of the pan, you’ll end up with some sort of Tahdig

How To Make Persian Rice – Step By Step

Step by step preparation images of how to make Persian rice on a stove top
  1. Soak the dried cranberries for at least an hour and start with boiling the rice (Image 1). You want to parboil the rice and not cook it entirely, though. Otherwise, you’ll end up with mushy rice. Once the rice is cooked, drain and wash under cold water to prevent further cooking (Image 2).
  2. In a non-stick cooking pot, add oil and fry the cumin, crushed cardamom seeds and onion until lightly golden – on medium heat (Image 3 and 4).
  3. In a small microwave-safe ramekin, add milk and saffron and warm for 20 seconds and set aside.
  4. Add chickpeas, carrots and drained cranberries to the pot. Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Add salt and gently stir (Image 5)
  5. Now it’s time to create layers of rice with veggie-fruit mixture. Start by removing the entire mixture from the cooking pot into a container (Image 6).
  6. In the same pot, heat the oil on medium heat, then
    1. add 3 cups of rice 
    2. followed by 2 cups of veggie-fruit mixture
    3. then add 2 cups of rice 
    4. and finish with the remaining veggie-fruit mix (save a bit for garnish)
    5. top with the remaining rice (Image 7)
  7. Now you want to pour – bit by bit – the saffron milk over the rice (Image 8). 
  8. Turn the heat to low, cover and cook for about 10 minutes or until the rice is cooked through.
  9. Garnish with the leftover veggie-fruit mixture, serve and enjoy!
Persian rice in a round tray surrounded by fresh parsley, grilled eggplant and a traditional fabric

We Adore This Persian Rice Because It’s:

  • Bursting with nourishing ingredients like chickpeas, cranberries, carrots and onion. Hello, fibrevitamins and minerals!
  • Gorgeous to look at – and what a perfect ethnic recipe for your table!
  • Tastes absolutely incredible – packed with flavour but mild enough to accompany other dishes.
  • An easy and healthy recipe – with a desi~licious twist 🙂

Top Tips For Making Desi-licious Persian Rice

  1. Make sure that when you drain the rice, you also rinse it under cold water to prevent further cooking.
  2. Don’t forget to soak the cranberries for at least an hour, so they’re nice and soft and release their flavour.
  3. Opt for cardamom seeds and crush them versus using ready-made cardamom powder. The infusion of flavour is like nothing else!
  4. Be mindful not to overcook the veggie-fruit mixture. Otherwise, the carrots will become soggy and lose their bright orange colour. Plus, that slightly crunchy texture of carrots marries beautifully with the rest of the ingredients in the dish.
  5. Don’t forget to place the lid on the layered rice and cook on low heat. You want the rice to cook through and not burn.
  6. When you’re ready, gently serve the rice on a platter and garnish.
Persian rice in a round tray surrounded by fresh parsley, grilled eggplant and a traditional fabric

More Easy And Healthy Holiday Recipes You May Like:

What’s your favourite way to enjoy rice? Have you tried my Jewelled Persian Rice before?

If you try this recipe, would love to hear from you! Leave a comment, rate it, or share a photo and hashtag with #desiliciousrd on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Can’t wait to see your photos.

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Desi~liciously Yours, Shahzadi

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Persian rice in a round tray surrounded by fresh parsley, grilled eggplant and a traditional fabric
4.50 stars (2 reviews)

Get the Recipe:

Jewelled Persian Rice

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
Yield: 6 people
Persian rice infused with the luxurious scent of saffron and cardamom – jewelled with crunchy carrot matchsticks, tart dried cranberries and protein-rich chickpeas to create a desilicous show-stopping rice dish for your holiday menu. Yes, it's as good as it looks.

Ingredients
 

  • 1 cup dried cranberries, no added sugar, soaked for at least one hour
  • 3 cups water, boiling water
  • 1.5 cup basmati rice, washed thoroughly. No need to soak.
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, extra virgin
  • 1.5 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 cardamom, seeds, crushed
  • 1/2 red onion, large, finely chopped
  • 1/8 tsp saffron
  • 1 tbsp almond milk, any other plant-based milk will work as well
  • 2 cups chickpeas, canned, unsalted, drained
  • 2 cups carrots, matchsticks. You can purchase these "already cut" to save time, Benefits of cooked carrots
  • 2 tsp salt, sea salt

Instructions
 

  • Begin by boiling the rice. In a medium pot, bring water to boil and add the rice. Parboil for 8 mins on medium heat.
  • In a separate large non-stick cooking pot, add 2 tbsp of oil and fry the cumin, crushed cardamom seeds and onion on medium heat until lightly golden.
  • In a small microwave-safe ramekin, add milk and saffron and warm for 20 seconds and set aside.
  • Add chickpeas, carrots and drained cranberries to the spices. Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Add salt and stir gently.
  • Once the rice is cooked, drain and wash under cold water to prevent further cooking.
  • Now it's time to create layers of rice with the veggie-fruit-spice mixture. Start by removing the entire mixture from the cooking pot into a large container.
  • In the empty pot, heat 1 tbsp of oil on medium heat. Add 3 cups of rice followed by 2 cups of the veggie-fruit-spice mixture. Continue with 2 cups of rice and finish with the remaining veggie-fruit-spice mixture (save a bit for garnishing). Finish the layers by topping with the remaining rice.
  • Now pour – bit by bit – the saffron milk over the rice. 
  • Turn the heat to low, cover and cook for about 7-10 minutes or until the rice is cooked through.
  • Garnish with the leftover veggie-fruit mixture, serve and enjoy!

Notes

  1. Make sure that when you drain the rice, you also rinse it under cold water to prevent further cooking.
  2. Don’t forget to soak the cranberries for at least an hour, so they’re nice and soft and release their flavour.
  3. Opt for cardamom seeds and crush them versus using ready-made cardamom powder. The infusion of flavour is like nothing else!
  4. Be mindful not to overcook the veggie-fruit mixture. Otherwise, the carrots will become soggy and lose their bright orange colour. Plus, that slightly crunchy texture of carrots marries beautifully with the rest of the ingredients in the dish.
  5. Don’t forget to place the lid on the layered rice and cook on low heat. You want the rice to cook through and not burn.
  6. When you’re ready, gently serve the rice on a platter and garnish.

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 410kcal (21%)Carbohydrates: 75g (25%)Protein: 9g (18%)Fat: 9g (14%)Saturated Fat: 1g (5%)Sodium: 822mg (34%)Potassium: 394mg (11%)Fiber: 8g (32%)Sugar: 18g (20%)Vitamin A: 7149IU (143%)Vitamin C: 4mg (5%)Calcium: 75mg (8%)Iron: 3mg (17%)

Keep in mind that the nutritional values provided are approximations and suggestions. This nutrition facts table cannot account for your individual needs. Your body — including your hunger and satiety cues — change daily. It’s perfectly fine to eat more or less on different days. Instead of letting food guilt take over, consider mindful eating.

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Cuisine: ethnic, Persian
Course: Side
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