Jamie Oliver’s pretty Persian-style rice

Crispy saffron crust, herbs galore, pomegranate & smashed pistachios. This layering of rice is so exciting. Feel free to mix up your herbs and even swap out pomegranate for grilled peaches, apricots or figs. So tasty!

Jamie oliver persian style rice
David Loftus



1 big pinch of saffron
450g basmati rice
3 cardamom pods
1 Maris Piper potato
olive oil
1 red onion
1 big bunch of mixed fresh herbs, such as dill, flat-leaf parsley, mint (60g)
20g shelled unsalted pistachios
1 pomegranate
6 tablespoons natural yoghurt
extra virgin olive oil
optional: rose harissa

1. Place the saffron in a bowl, cover with 75ml of boiling water and leave to steep. Cook the rice in a large pan of boiling salted water for 7 minutes, cracking and adding the cardamom pods, then drain and spread out on a large baking tray to cool. Season with a generous pinch of sea salt and black pepper, then divide into 4 piles, picking out and discarding the cardamom. 

2. Scrub the potato and slice into 1cm-thick rounds. Rub a 26cm nonstick frying pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then add the potato in a single layer in a nice pattern and place on a medium-low heat. Toss the first pile of rice with half the saffron water, then add to the pan and carefully pat into an even layer. Add and pat down the second pile of rice, then peel, very finely slice and add a layer of onion. Top with the third pile of rice, then pick, finely chop and scatter over most of the herbs and cover with the remaining rice. Drizzle over the remaining saffron water, then find a plate just smaller than the pan, place on top and push down to really compact. Pop a lid on top, turn the heat down to low and cook for 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Meanwhile, roughly bash the pistachios in a pestle and mortar until fine. Halve the pomegranate, then, holding each half cut side down, bash the back with a spoon so all the seeds come tumbling out.

3. Confidently turn the rice out on to a board, top with the yoghurt, pomegranate seeds, remaining herbs, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a scattering of pistachios. Absolutely delicious served with a dash of harissa, if you like.


338 kcal; 5.9g fat (1.3g saturated); 8.6g protein; 66.6g carbs; 4.7g sugars; 0.7g salt; 2.6g fibre

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From easy curries and stews to pies and pasta, Jamie Oliver’s latest cookbook is packed with delicious plant-powered recipes. Veg is published by Penguin Random House, price £26. To order a copy for £20.80, with free p&p, until 1 December, go to mailshop.co.uk or call 01603 648155.