2 cups basmati rice, soaked in salted
water for 2 hours
2-3 saffron strands, soaked in 1 tbsp
Thoroughly wash the zereshk in cold water
at least 4-5 times to rinse off any bits of grit. Heat 1 tbsp of the
butter in a small frying pan and stir fry the raisins for 1-2 minutes.
Add the zereshk, fry for a few seconds and then add the sugar, and half
of the cinnamon and cumin. Cook briefly and then set aside. Drain the
rice and then boil in salted water for 5 minutes, reduce the heat and
simmer for 10 minutes until half cooked. Drain and rinse in lukewarm
water and wash and dry the pan. Heat half of the remaining butter in the
pan, add 1 tbsp water and stir in half of the rice.
half of the raisin and zereshk mixture and top with all but 3 tbsp of
the rice. Sprinkle over the remaining raisin mixture. Blend the reserved
rice with the remaining cinnamon and cumin and scatter over the top of
the rice mixture. Dribble the remaining butter over and then cover the
pan with a clean dish towel and secure with a tightly fitting lid,
lifting the corners of the cloth back over the lid. Steam the rice over
a very low heat for about 30-40 minutes. Just before serving, mix 3 tbsp
of the rice with the saffron water. Spoon the rice on to a large flat
serving dish and scatter the saffron rice over the top to decorate.
Zereshk Polo is flavored with fruit and
spices and is commonly served with chicken dishes.