Jewelled Persian Rice

Almost too pretty to eat, this rice dish can serve as the best accessory to buffet entertaining or as part of a vegetarian meal or snack. The aromatic basmati combined with the texture of the nuts, raisins and cranberries creates the ultimate culinary, sensory experience.

Jewelled Persian Rice

Makes 6 servings.


  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) sugar
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) water
  • 2 cups (500 mL) julienned or shredded carrots
  • zest strips of 2 oranges julienned
  • 2 cups (500 mL) USA basmati rice
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) saffron
  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) cinnamon
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) salt
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) green or golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) toasted pistachios
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) toasted sliced almonds


  1. In a large skillet over medium high heat, dissolve sugar with 2 tbsp water; stir in carrots and orange zest. Cook until liquid has evaporated; remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Blanch rice in a large pot of boiling water for 6 – 7 minutes until tender with a hard centre. Strain and set aside. In a small bowl, stir together saffron and ¼ cup vegetable broth, set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over high heat, sauté onion, cardamom, cinnamon and salt until onions are softened. Stir in rice, cranberries and raisins. Reduce heat to low, drizzle saffron water over rice, do not stir and cover with a tight fitting lid. Let sit for approximately 10 minutes (or until tender) to finish cooking. Spoon onto a platter and top with carrot mix, pistachios and almonds. Toss together just before serving.