Jeweled Rice (morsaa polo ba morgh)

Prep Time:

90 minutes


4 portions


  • 4 large skinless-boneless chicken
  • 2 large onion – chopped
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 30ml bloomed saffron
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 cups basmati rice
  • 7 tablespoons kosher salt, divided
  • 30ml bloomed saffron*8 tbsp melted butter, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 cup barberries
  • 1/2 raisins
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup slivered pistachio
  • 1/4 cup caramelized orange peel
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/8 cup saffron

Created By

This recipe is brought to you by Polina Shadman | Polina's Nostalgic Treats | | IG: @polinas_nostalgic_treats_



  1. Cut chicken into cube pieces and marinate with 1 onion sliced, salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
  2. Slice the remaining onions and fry in hot oil; then add the marinated chicken with a dash of turmeric and toss for a few minutes until sealed.
  3. Then transfer the chicken to a roasting pan/or casserole dish and put it in a preheated oven to bake. Halfway, melt 2-3 tablespoons of butter, add saffron, and pour the mixture over the chicken ensuring to cover it all. Bake until golden.

Rice & Jewels

  1. Rinse rice with cold water, repeat 3 times. Soak rice in cold water for 2-6 hours.
  2. Bring 4 cups of water & 1/8 cup of salt, to a boil. Drain the soaking rice and add to the boiling pot. Bring back to a gentle boil, & cook rice until al-dente (5-10min) depending on the quality of the rice. Drain the rice in a colander and rinse quickly under cold water.
  3. Add the yogurt to a medium bowl, and add 1/2 tbsp. bloomed saffron. Stir in 2 cups of the drained rice, and set aside. Make a mixture of 2 tbsp. melted butter with 2 tbsp of hot water and set
  4. Place a wide dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Add 3 tbsp. melted butter, swirling it around to cover the bottom of the pot and up sides.
  5. Spread the rice-yogurt mixture evenly across the bottom of the pot. This will be the tahdig (crispy rice) layer. Spoon in the remaining rice over the tahdig layer. Drizzle butter-hot water
    mixture over rice.
  6. Set the pot lid on a large clean kitchen towel, fold the edges of the towel up over the lid, and cover the pot with the lid. Cook over low -medium heat and cook until the rice is tender and the
    tahdig is golden and crisp (45-60 minutes.)
  7. Meanwhile, rinse barberries and soak them in some cold water to rehydrate. Heat 2 tbsp butter in a small pan over medium heat. Add drained barberries and stir for a couple of minutes,
    then add 1/2 tbsp. saffron liquid. Stir and cook for another 2 minutes.
  8. Repeat the step for raisins.
    Heat more butter and sauté each of the pistachios/almonds in a bit of butter set aside.
  9. Place the rice in a deep serving tray. Arrange chicken around or along. Garnish to desired design/look with barberries/pistachios/almonds/caramelized orange peel (see separate sheet for caramelizing orange peel)


  • Blooming the Saffron: use 1/4tspoon of ground saffron threads, put in a cup, and add either 1
    ice cube to melt or 30ml of hot water.
  • The dish can be made with other pieces of meat or you can completely eliminate meat and serve rice as is.

Created By

This recipe is brought to you by Polina Shadman | Polina's Nostalgic Treats | | IG: @polinas_nostalgic_treats_