Looking to take your rice game to a whole new level? Prepare to dazzle your taste buds and your guests with this visually stunning Jeweled Rice recipe.
There’s no denying that I love all the flavors that the Middle East have to offer. That includes this gorgeous rice dish. Born from the rich culinary traditions of the Middle East, jeweled rice is a vibrant and decadent dish that combines fragrant basmati rice with an array of colorful and flavorful ingredients.
What is jeweled rice?
Jeweled rice is not just your average side dish. It’s an exotic and vibrant creation that will transport you to a world of rich flavors and dazzling colors. The dish is known for its extravagant use of ingredients and garnishes. It transforms plain rice into a masterpiece fit for a king. It combines Persian flavors with a touch of elegance, making it an unforgettable addition to any dining experience.
Traditionally, the base of jeweled rice consists of fragrant, long-grain rice like basmati or jasmine. You cook it to perfection before transforming it into jeweled rice. The “jeweled” part of this rice recipe is the addition of various dried fruits, nuts, and aromatic spices that weave a tapestry of flavors that will leave you craving more.
Each ingredient in jeweled rice is carefully selected to add a burst of color and texture, resembling the jewels that give the dish its name. The result is a stunning medley of hues, ranging from vibrant oranges and deep reds to shimmering golds and vibrant greens. Not only is jeweled rice a culinary masterpiece, but it is also a feast for the eyes that will awe your guests and create a lasting impression.
Jeweled rice has a rich history that dates back centuries, originating in the royal kitchens of the Persian Empire. Traditionally served at lavish banquets and special occasions, it adorned the tables of the royalty and elite.
In ancient Persia, jeweled rice was seen not only as a delightful rice creation but also as a symbol of prosperity and abundance. The intricate preparation process and the use of rare and exotic ingredients showcased the wealth and abundance of the ruling elite. Saffron, pomegranates, pistachios, and other culinary precious gems combine to create this dish that is as visually stunning as it is delicious.
Over time, jeweled rice traveled from Persia to various parts of the world, adapting and evolving with each new culture it encountered. As it spread through the Middle East and Central Asia, different regions added their own unique twists to the recipe. Variations of jeweled rice can now be found in countries like Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, and India, each with its own distinct flavors and ingredients.
Throughout history, this sumptuous dish has maintained its allure and popularity, captivating the taste buds and imaginations of people all over the world. Today, jeweled rice continues to be a centerpiece dish at special occasions, weddings, and festive gatherings. Its vibrant colors and intricate presentation make it a true showstopper.
How do you make jeweled rice?
First and foremost, it’s all about the type of rice. Selecting the right type of rice really makes this recipe superbly delicious. Traditionally, long-grain basmati rice is used for its delicate texture and ability to absorb flavors without becoming mushy. I call it popcorn rice because that’s what it smells like to me when it’s cooking. Basmati rice provides a light and fluffy base for the jeweled rice, allowing the flavors of the spices and other ingredients to shine through.
You can use saffron, but that’s a bit pricey. I used turmeric to make my rice golden yellow in color. Then you can add spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and cumin to create a harmonious blend of flavors. I shied away from the sweet spices and stuck with the turmeric, cardamom, and cumin. They not only enhanced the taste of the rice but also gave it a warm and inviting aroma that fills during the cooking process.
I made my rice in the rice cooker. Yes, it’s a cop out but my rice cooker is top of the line and makes perfect rice. If you don’t have a rice cooker, then you can bring 3 cups of water, the turmeric and your choice of spices to a boil. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of long-grain basmati rice and return to a boil. Cover, turn the heat to a low simmer, and cook for 20 minutes. Turn the heat off, stir the rice, cover it again, and let it steam for about 10 minutes. You should have perfectly fluffy rice ready to be adorned with jewels.
The garnishes used in jeweled rice play a crucial role in creating the visually stunning presentation. Dried fruits such as apricots, cranberries, and currents often add vibrant pops of color to the dish. Slivered almonds and pistachios bring a delightful crunch and a touch of nuttiness. Finally, there’s pomegranate seeds that provide bursts of tartness and freshness.
What does jeweled rice taste like?
The goal of jeweled rice is to make not only a visually appealing side dish, but also create a harmonious blend of textures and flavors. And that’s just what this side dish tastes like. The rice is rich with the spices of turmeric, cardamom, and cumin. And any other spices you decided to add to your rice. It’s perfectly light and fluffy with a hint of butter. Because I always add butter to rice.
Then you bite into the sweet apricots and slightly sweet tart cranberries. The crunch of the pistachios and pomegranate seeds. The pomegranate seeds also burst in your mouth with their sweet tart flavor. And everything looks super elegant and adorned with so much flavor and texture. Your guests will love this jeweled rice and it will be a show stopping side dish for the holidays.
A funny story about the pistachios. For some reason, I do not pay attention when ordering pistachios for my grocery pick up. I always get the pistachios in the shell. So, there we were, my husband and I, standing in the kitchen shelling pistachios to put in this jeweled rice. It took every fiber of my being not to eat all the pistachios I shelled, but I suffered for this recipe and didn’t eat them all.
So, with the right choice of rice, the perfect blend of spices, and a royal arrangement of fruits and nuts, jeweled rice truly becomes a stunning side dish for your holiday table. It will undoubtedly leave your dinner guests in awe. It’s visually stunning and packed with flavors that will elevate your next gathering and make it truly unforgettable. So, get creative, experiment with different spices and ingredients, and level up your rice side dish game with this jeweled rice recipe.
Transform your regular holiday side dishes into something extraordinary with this exquisite Jeweled Rice recipe. Each grain is infused with colorful fruits and nuts, making every bite a burst of joy on your plate.
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 teapsoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
- 1 1/2 cups basmati rice
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 3/4 cup chopped pistachios
- 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup pomegranate pearls
- Bring the water, coconut milk, turmeric, cumin, and cardamom to a boil in a medium saucepot with a lid. Stir in the rice, reduce the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove the lid and stir the rice. Put the lid back on and let the rice steam for 10 minutes.
- Fluff the rice and stir in the butter, garlic salt, and black pepper. Fold in the chopped dried apricots, dried cranberries, chopped pistachios, and pomegranate seeds. Garnish with chopped green onions or parsley before serving.
Amount Per Serving Calories 279Total Fat 18gSaturated Fat 10gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 15mgSodium 306mgCarbohydrates 29gFiber 3gSugar 14gProtein 5g
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