Zereshk Polo

Zereshk Polo


  • cup rice 
  • 1cup dried barberries 
  • 2 12tablespoons sugar
  • 2 pinches of saffron diluted in water
  • tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1teaspoon advieh
  • sea salt, to taste
  • water


Zereshk Polo is one of the easiest and yet most elegant Persian dishes to prepare. This traditional rice dish has the perfect balance of tart and sweet. Zereshk Polo is delicious on it's own, but I find that it goes exceptionally well with Saffron and Lemon Roasted Chicken.


  1. Soak rice with salt to taste for at least an hour.
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil add salt to taste and add drained rice.
  3. Once boiling, cook 10 minutes. While the rice cooks, gently scoop the rice from the bottom of the pot and bring to the surface and release. Do this step several times. NOTE: Do not stir.
  4. Place a colander in the sink. You will want to choose a colander where the holes are small so that the rice won’t escape.
  5. Check the rice to make sure it is cooked. It should be soft and cooked but not mushy. Drain rice in colander.
  6. Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
  7. Pick over the barberries and remove any stones you may find and then soak in water for 5-10 minutes. Rinse barberries after soaking.
  8. In a skillet melt 1 tablespoon of butter then add the barberries. Add the sugar and give it a nice stir so that the barberries are coated with butter and sugar.
  9. You will see that they will start to plump up! Add 1 tablespoon saffron water and let the barberries absorb the liquid for about one minute. Remove from heat.
  10. Sprinkle advieh and top with some barberry mixture.
  11. Repeat layers until the last layer is rice, reserving about 1/4 of a cup of barberries for garnish.
  12. Create 3-4 holes in the rice with the bottom of your spoon.
  13. Cover and cook on medium-high 10 minutes or until crust would be formed but not burnt.
  14. Melt 1 tbs of butter and mix with 1/2 tablespoon of Saffron water and 1 tablespoon of water. Pour all over rice.
  15. Cover tightly and cook 1 hour on low.
  16. Serve rice in a platter and top with the reserved barberries.