Spring Summer Rice Recipes

Jewelled Pilaf Rice


I like to eat this jewelled pilaf rice on its own (especially with a dollop of yogurt), or serve it as a side dish with grilled lamb chops or chicken.

Layering the rice means the flavours are well distributed and, although it may seem like a lot of butter, this creates a gorgeous caramelised crust on the bottom of the pan. The other ingredients give it a beautiful colour and texture – like finding jewels in each mouthful.

Serves 6.

This recipe originally appeared in the May 2022 edition of House and Garden magazine.  Photograph courtesy of Nassima Rothacker.


  • 300g white Basmati rice
  • 50g butter
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 6 allspice berries, crushed (approx. 1 teaspoon ground)
  • 50g dried barberries or a mixture of dried cranberries and sour cherries
  • 80g pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 20g dill, finely chopped
  • 20g parsley, finely chopped
  • 500g podded broad beans
  • A large pinch of saffron, soaked in 4tbsp boiling water for 5 minutes


  • Cook the rice: rinse the rice well and put in a saucepan with 2 teaspoons of salt. Add enough water to cover by 1cm. Put on a lid, bring to the boil and cook for 8 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the lid on while you prepare the other ingredients.
  • Choose a heavy-bottomed, lidded saucepan or casserole (large enough to fit the rice and the other ingredients). I use my medium Le Creuset. Melt half of the butter and gently fry the onion with a large pinch of salt, for 5-10 minutes, until it is soft and sweet and just beginning to colour. Remove to a bowl and set aside. No need to wash the saucepan as you will use it again in a minute.
  • When the rice is cooked, lay out the rest of your prepared ingredients. You are going to make layers of rice and the other ingredients. I mix the allspice, barberries, pistachios, and herbs (with some ground black pepper) in a bowl together to make this quicker.
  • Melt the remaining butter in the saucepan until it is foaming, then turn off the heat. Add a shallow layer of rice, a quarter of the cooked onions, the spice and nut mixture, broad beans, a tablespoon of saffron water, and a good pinch of salt. Repeat this until you’ve used all the ingredients, ending with a layer of rice.
  • Cover with a piece of parchment paper and the lid and cook at medium heat for 20 minutes. Leave to steam for a further 10 minutes.


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