A classic Persian side dish of buttery, saffron-infused rice layered with sour-cherry preserves. Traditionally Iranian cooks cloth-wrap the lid to absorb steam and create a crisp layer on the bottom of the rice (called tahdig). In this recipe the rice steams just long enough to finish cooking and become fluffy without crisping.

Martha Stewart Living, July/August 2019


Credit: Mikkel Vang

Recipe Summary

15 mins
50 mins
Serves 6 to 8


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Cook rice in a large pot of salted water as you would pasta, boiling until just cooked through with some bite in center, 7 to 9 minutes. Drain in a fine-mesh sieve, then rinse with cool water; drain again. In a small bowl, steep saffron in hot water until liquid is bright orange, 5 minutes.

  • Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add one-third of cooked rice, spreading it to edges of pan in an even layer. Scatter half of preserves on top of rice, then poke 4 holes through rice with the bottom of a wooden spoon. Cut 1 tablespoon butter into small pieces; place on holes. Spoon half of remaining rice on top, followed by remaining preserves; poke 4 more holes and dot each with remaining 1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces. Stir saffron mixture into remaining rice; add to pot as final layer. Wrap lid with a clean kitchen towel and cover pot. Reduce heat to low and cook until rice is tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Fluff with a fork and season with salt; serve.

Cook's Notes

Use a wide saucepan with a tight-fitting lid for this dish.