I am not quite certain whether this rice dish needs an introduction or a recipe. The one dish most people associate Persian dishes with is jewelled rice. Jewelled rice with it's dazzling colours is the crown jewel of the ancient Persian cuisine. Traditionally, it is served at celebrations such as weddings. Rice with heavenly saffron, nuts, orange peel and fruits doesn't get any better than this. It is an explosion of flavours and textures. Variations of this dish is made all over the Middle East.
This dish is a great symbol of going the distance for an amazing meal. There are so many elements in this dish, carefully prepared and proportionately added to rice that reflect the hard work required. Persians are famous for their hospitality and only the most perfect foods are served to guests. The greatest saying 'guests are God's friends' is on most people's lips. As a child, I had no idea what it meant, and seeing my mother prepare the most laborious dishes for our guests was common, and I often wondered why feasting is saved for guests only. Many years ago, people showed up un-invited at their friend's and family's doorstep and in some instances it was a burden to cook for them due to lack of refrigeration. So, this proverb came in handy to remind the host that the guest showed up at their house by the will of God and it is the host's responsibility to treat them with utmost respect and generosity. Glancing back at hosting guests in Iran and New Zealand, I realise that the way we host hasn't changed, but what has changed is of course the food itself, as we try to introduce different flavours to our every day cooking and to our friends of different cultures.
This is my signature Naw-Ruz dish. It is not a traditional new year dish so, I have been breaking traditions a little, but it is a perfect way to introduce a Persian dish to friends as it is not too challenging to master and they can make this for their friends and family. If you need the recipe, please ask :)