This Persian rice casserole is one of those showstopping dishes that everyone will get excited about. When I discovered this dish is usually made with yogurt and chicken I was going to skip it, but then I decided to go with veggie meat for the filling. Truthfully it can be made without any filling and served as a side dish or you can try making it with coconut milk or soy sour cream in place of the yogurt.
If you don't have a nice round cake pan to make it like the photo, you can also make it in a rectangle casserole. Many people say you must start or cook this on the stove as it is made traditionally, but I found it easier for me in the oven and it was perfect.
You can put the barberries in the filling or simply use as a garnish. Dried cranberries or cherries can also work.
For the filling I used a veggie shawarma meat, but you can try veggie ground meat, eggplant, chopped cauliflower, or mushrooms.
- Cook Time
- Prep Time
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon Jamie Geller Hawaij
- Kosher salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 pound ground veggie meat, chopped mushrooms, diced eggplant or chopped cauliflower
- ¼ cup dried barberries or dried sour cherries, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes
- 5 cups water plus 1 tablespoon, divided
- 2 ½ cups basmati rice, rinsed well and drained
- 1 teaspoon ground saffron
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
Preheat oven to 400℉.
- In a large frying pan heat 2 tablespoons oil over high heat. Add onions and saute 2 minutes until fragrant. Add Hawaij, salt and pepper and veggies or veggie meat of choice. Saute until browned and cooked and adjust seasoning to taste. Mix in ⅔ of the barberries reserving some for garnish. Set aside.
- In a large pot, bring 5 cups water to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt and rice. Bring back up to a boil then cook for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon water and saffron in a large bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk in eggs, yogurt and 3/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add parboiled rice and mix well.
- Grease pan, (round cake pan or rectangular casserole) layer half of the rice and yogurt mixture. Top with chicken mixture over the rice, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Top with the remaining rice mixture, smoothing the top with a spatula. Pour butter over the top cover tightly with foil. Transfer the pan to the oven. Bake for 1¼ hours.
Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and run a knife around the edge to loosen the pie. Place a flat serving platter on top of the pan and carefully invert to release the pie from the pan.
Scatter remaining barberries and chopped pistachios for garnish before serving.
Serve with tahini or herbed yogurt sauce and Israeli salad.