Rice dishes are so aggressive in Persian cooking; your rice game basically establishes your worth in the kitchen. I don’t even try to compete, I just make simplified/healthier versions. This recipe is easier than my most recent rice post, Morassa Polo/Jewel Brown Rice. It’s still insanely delicious, I will admit, not as delicious as the Jeweled Rice but you get more bang for your buck in terms of recipe difficulty.
I completely cheat here by cooking up a little farro and then adding in all the traditional flavors of Zershk Polo. I love the contrast of the sautéed shallot, the tart barberries (or chopped dried cranberries!) and the floral rose petals. Of course, saffron makes everything better and is like a flavor/color blanket over all the farro.
- 2 cups farro or other grain
- 2 tablespoons butter or unrefined coconut oil
- 2 shallots, minced
- 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 0.25 cup dried rose petals plus extra for garnish*
- 0.5 cup barberries, soaked in warm water for ½ hour and drained*
- 0.5 teaspoon saffron
- Cook farro according to package instructions (I brought 2 cups of farro and 6 cups salted water to a boil then reduced to simmer and cooked, covered for 15 minutes). Place drained farro in a bowl and dot with butter. Stir, cover and set aside.
- Crush the saffron in a mortar and pestle. Stir in 3 teaspoons warm water. Set aside.
- Warm grapeseed oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Saute shallot in oil for ten minutes. Add dried rose petal and barberries and sauté another ten minutes.
- Add farro to sauté pan and stir. Drizzle saffron on top and gently stir. Season to taste with salt. Transfer to bowl and garnish with rose petals.
*substitute chopped dried cranberries if you can’t find barberries. rose Petals can be found at ethnic or middle eastern food stores, online, in Iran or sometimes at Whole Foods 😊