Barberry Rice

Barberry Rice

This recipe is for a Classic Persian dish known as Zirishk Pulao. Barberry (Zirishk) is a very nutritious berry that has been known for thousands of years for its outstanding medicinal purposes. Barberries give this rice dish a whole new level of taste as it adds a tart like flavor to the rice. Let your creativity flourish with this recipe and adapt it as you wish, these proportions are for serving a group of four to six.


Pre-cooking instructions:

  • Put 3 cups of rice in a large bowl and rinse the rice under warm water. Then drain the water and repeat this for a total of three times.
  • Then soak the rice in large a bowl for at least 3 hours or overnight, by filling the bowl with water roughly 1 ½  liters of water or just enough water so that the rice is well submerged as it will soak lots of water

Cooking Instructions:

  • In a pot pour 1 ½ liters of water and bring to boil with a tablespoon of salt 
  • Drain the rice that has been soaking overnight or for at least 3 hours and pour into the pot of boiling water 
  • Let the rice cook in the boiling water for about 8-10 minutes  
  • Keep an eye on the grains of rice, when you see the grains of rice starting to crack and elongate turn off the heat, drain the rice and rinse under cold water 
  • Place the drained rice back into the pot and set it aside for a few minutes, while preparing the oil mixture and saffron for the rice 
  • Place a ¼ teaspoon of saffron in a small bowl and pour ⅓ cup of boiling water over it and let it sit to get the color of saffron in the water 
  • To make the oil mixture for rice fill another pot with 1 ¼  cups of water, ¾ cups of oil, ¾  tablespoon of salt and ¼ cup of fried onions. Let this heat on a medium heat until it comes to a boil then turn off the heat and set aside. 
  • Strain the oil water mixture over the pot of rice and discard the fried onions 
  • Strain the bowl of saffron into another bowl and pour the saffron colored water over a quarter of the pot of rice (coloring only a portion of the rice)
  • Place the lid over the pot of rice and let it cook on medium heat for about 15-20 minutes. After about 15-20 minutes you will begin to hear the rice starting to make a popping sound, this means that the water of the rice is evaporating and the rice is cooked. You can now turn off the heat
  • In a frying pan lightly heat 1 tablespoons of oil and pour ½ cup of barberry over the oil and give the barberry a quick mix in the oil for about 30 seconds and take it off the heat. Set aside and use at the end to garnish the rice.
  • Now that your rice is cooked, it is time to get creative with your presentation. You can use the barberry, slivered pistachio and saffron colored rice to create your own design and add a personal touch to your Zirishk Palou. 
  • Now is the most important step and that is to enjoy !!!