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Persian Sour Cherry Saffron Rice


  • 1 24-oz jar of sour cherries in light syrup (or 1 can sour pie cherry, light syrup), drained and SYRUP RESERVED
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron, soaked in 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 3 cups basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted (I use clarified butter, but regular butter will work)
  • 1 cup sugar


  • Soak the rice: Wash and soak the basmati rice in water for 2 hours. This step is not totally necessary, but it does produce a more tender rice.
  • Make the rice: Drain the rice. Fill a large pot with water and boil. Add the rice and boil on medium heat for 8 minutes exactly. Drain the rice and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking. Drain. In the same pot over high heat, add half of the butter. When hot: Add half of the drained rice Pour half of the saffron+soaking water over the rice Stir a bit Add half of the drained cherries Add remaining rice Pour rest of saffron+ soaking water Add remaining butter Stir just this layer a bit Add the remaining drained cherries *Traditionally, this is done in a pyramid shape. I'm not coordinated enough to handle that request. The wider the pan you have, the more crusty rice crust you get.
  • Wrap your lid with a thin kitchen towel and cover the pot. This helps the steam stay in the pot, which is important because you aren't adding any additional liquid to the pot. Cook on high for 10 minutes (to create a nice crunchy crust). Turn heat down to super-low for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Make the syrup: While rice is cooking, cook syrup + 1 cup sugar over medium heat for 30 minutes until it reduces down to a sweet, sticky syrup. Set aside.
  • Serve: When the rice is done, drizzle 1/2 cup of the syrup over the rice. See the nice crust of rice at the bottom of the pan? Its well known that household bribery, deception and wars have erupted over who gets to eat that part!
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!