Zereshk polo is hands down my favourite rice dish. Barberries have a similar flavour to cranberries and the tartness pairs so well with the buttery saffron rice. Barberries are a bit too tart on their own for my liking, so I like to add a bit of sugar while I’m sautéing them.


For best results, grind your saffron with a mortar and pestle.


A delicious combination of colours and flavours!



  • 2 cups white basmati rice
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup barberries, soaked in warm water for 1/2 an hour and drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron, ground and steeped in 1 tbsp of hot water
  • 1 tbsp sugar


  1. Soak rice in water with a tbsp of salt for at least 2 hours. Drain rice in sieve and rinse with cold water.
  2. Using a large pot, bring 8 cups of water with a tbsp of salt to a boil. When water is boiling, add rice and cook for about 7 minutes or until the rice is cooked through, stirring often to make sure rice doesn’t stick together. Drain the rice in a sieve and rinse with lukewarm water.
  3. While the rice cooks, heat the butter in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add the barberries and sugar and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, until the barberries are tender.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the barberries with the rice and drizzle the saffron over the top. Add a bit of extra butter to the rice (optional) and serve.


If you can’t find barberries, substitute with coarsely chopped dried cranberries or dried sour cherries. Enjoy!

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