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Jewelled rice (a Maroque recipe)

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This stunning rice dish creates a beautiful centre piece. The light saffron scented rice dotted with the barberries, which look like ribies amongst the other dried fruits and nuts resembling precious stones. The origins of this dish are Persian.


450g (1lb) basmati long-grain white rice
75g (3oz) dried barberry (zereshk)
50g (2oz) dried sour cherries or cranberries
2-3 tbl olive oil and a little butter
2 pinches saffron threads
75g (3oz) raisins or saltanas
75g (3oz) dried apricots, cut into slivers
110g (4oz) blanched almonds cut into slivers
110g (4oz) pistachios, chopped or cut into slivers


1. Rinse the rice well and leave to soak in water for 20 minutes.

2. Place the barberries and sour cherries in individual bowls, pour a little boiling water over them and leave to soak for 10 minutes.

3. Boil the rice in salted water for about 10 minutes, until it is al sente, then drain.

4. In a large, heavy-based pan,heat the oil and butter. Stir in the saffron, then tip the rice in with all the other ingredients about 2 tbl of warm water and a sprinkling of salt. Carefully, mix it all together, adding a little extra oil to coat it.

5. Cover the pan with a clean tea towel, followed by the lid and steam the rice over a very low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until it is tender.

6. Serve hot or at romm temperature

Serves 6

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