Iranian Jewelled Rice Recipe

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Daron Masur ( Head Chef Daron Masur E   Daron Masur is a Melbourne restaurateur with over 20 years experience in the pizza and pasta industry. He’s had pizzerias all over the city and currently owns Earth, Wind & Flour in Elwood; a highly acclaimed gourmet pizza eatery. Daron is famed for his ethnically inspired fusion pizzas like the Rolled Dhal which uses dhal instead of passata sauce, and the Pak A Pow with its Thai ingredients and sweet and sour zinginess. At home, Daron is equally adventurous, plus an avid fan of Taj Rice! We asked him for a favourite rice dish, and why he chooses Taj Rice.   “I’ve loved middle eastern dishes since my holidays as a child. We visited places like Israel, UAE, Jordan and Iran – the local cuisine always fascinated me and I’ve tried to incorporate certain elements into my cooking. Something that’s always stuck with me from those holidays are the amazing rice dishes. The floral fragrance when being cooked, the diversity of rice, the fluffiness of decent basmati. It’s hard to find authentic rice in Australia, but Taj Classic Basmati Rice is an exception. It’s my go-to brand.” Here’s Daron’s favourite dish:  


Javaher Polow   Classic Home Blog  

Serves 8

  • 3 cups long-grain Taj Classic Basmati Rice
  • 2 tablespoons salt, divided
  • 2 large oranges
  • 1 cup whole dried barberries or chopped unsweetened dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon loosely-packed saffron (about 1/2 gram) or 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup orange blossom water, divided
  • 2 tablespoons oil, butter or ghee
  • 1/2 cup sliced toasted almonds
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted pistachios
  • 1/2 cup golden or green raisins
  • 2-3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch long strips
  • One 4-inch whole cinnamon stick
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground cardamom


Wash the Taj Classic Basmati Rice in a large container of water, swishing it around with your hand then draining off the water and repeating until the water runs clear, about five times. Cover again with water, add 2 tablespoons of the salt and soak between 20-30mins. Drain through a fine-mesh sieve and set aside. Set a small pot of water to boil. Use a vegetable peeler to take thick strips of rind off the oranges, including a little of the white membrane. Slice these strips crosswise into very small slivers. Once boiling, drop the slivers into the water and cook 1 minute. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside. (This cuts the bitterness of the orange rind.) Remove the stems or debris from barberries and place them in a sieve set inside a bowl. Cover with cold water and soak for 20 minutes. Pull the sieve from the bowl and rinse under cold water to flush out any remaining sand. Set aside. (If using cranberries, skip this step.) Crush the saffron threads in a mortar and pestle with a few pinches of sugar until a powder forms. Stir in 3 tablespoons of orange blossom water and set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet (12-inches or more) over medium heat. Add the almonds and the pistachios, and sauté for about a minute. Add the raisins to the pan and toss with the nuts. Empty the mixture into a bowl and set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons of the saffron orange blossom water mixture, 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat in the same skillet. Add the carrots and orange peel and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the remaining sugar, the remaining saffron orange blossom water mixture, the cinnamon stick and the cardamom and sauté for 1 minute. Add 1 cup water, bring to a boil over high heat, then lower to medium heat and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the carrots lightly caramelise and the liquid has reduced to a syrup. Drain the carrots and orange peel, and reserve the syrup. In a large heavy-bottomed pot with a lid, bring ten cups of water to a boil. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons salt, and then add Taj Classic Basmati Rice to the pot with the remaining 1 tablespoon plain orange blossom water. Boil briskly until the rice has risen to the surface and when bitten into, a grain of rice feels soft, 6 to 10 minutes. Drain the rice into a large fine-mesh sieve, rinse with cold water and turn it out into a bowl. Gently mix the remaining saffron orange blossom water and the reserved carrot/orange syrup to the rice. Take a large spoonful of rice at a time and gently spread it over the bottom of the pot. Even out the base by shaking the pot. Add more spoonfuls of rice, one at a time, gradually shaping it into a pyramid. (This shape leaves room for the rice to expand and enlarge.) Wrap the lid of the pot with a clean dish towel and cover firmly to prevent steam from escaping. Cook 20 minutes over low heat. To serve, arrange on a serving platter layers of rice, then the caramelised carrot mixture (discarding the cinnamon stick), then the barberry/nut mixture.  

by Mantis Kane