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Jeweled Brown Basmati Rice and Quinoa (Morassa Polo)

Sara Remington © 2013

Servings: 6 to 8

This dish gets its name from the gemlike red barberries and green pistachios that sparkle on its surface. It’s a regal dish that’s typically reserved for special occasions. Although there are quite a few ingredients, this is an easy dish to make. You simply sauté the dried fruit and nuts with oil and spices, and toss them with the cooked grains.

This recipe is excerpted from The New Persian Kitchen. Read our review.


  • 1 cup brown basmati rice, soaked in cold water for 1 hour
  • 1-1/2 cups quinoa, soaked in cold water for 1 hour
  • 5 Tbs. grapeseed oil
  • Sea salt
  • 4 cups water, boiling
  • 2 Tbs. butter or unrefined coconut oil, at room temperature
  • 1 large yellow onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup barberries, soaked in warm water for 1/2 hour and drained
  • 1 cup minced dried apricots
  • 1 Tbs. dried rose petals or dried whole rosebuds pulled apart and stems removed, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup slivered blanched almonds, lightly toasted
  • 1/2 tsp. saffron, ground and steeped in 1 Tbs. hot water for a few minutes
  • Pomegranate seeds, for garnish (optional)


  • Drain the rice and quinoa and rinse under cold water.
  • Heat a medium stockpot over low heat and add the rice and quinoa, 2 Tbs. of the oil, and a pinch of salt. Sauté the grains, stirring often to prevent sticking for about 5 minutes until dry and fragrant. Add the boiling water and return to a boil; turn down the heat to very low and cook, covered, for 40 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the grains rest for 10 minutes, then toss in the butter and fluff with a fork.
  • While the grains cook, heat a large skillet over medium heat and sauté the onion in the remaining 3 Tbs. oil for about 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the barberries, apricots, rose petals, cumin, cinnamon, and cardamom. Cook for about 5 minutes, until heated through. Reserve half of the pistachios and almonds for garnish, and add the rest of the nuts to the skillet. Season with salt, and remove from the heat.
  • In a large bowl, toss the fruit and nuts with the grains and drizzle in the saffron and its steeping liquid. Season with salt. Garnish with the remaining nuts, a few rose petals, and the pomegranate seeds.


Reprinted with permission from The New Persian Kitchen by Louisa Shafia, copyright © 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.


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