Tahdig with Apricot Filling and Saffron Beurre Blanc

Of all the world travels Francois and I have embarked upon, our trip to Iran was one of the best. The historic culture, scenic beauty, kind people, and, of course, unending delicious food. Rice plays an important role in Persian cuisine — like the phones in our hands, rice is a staple in their culinary fare (although, rice has been grown and eaten for thousands of years!).

Jeweled Rice is a delicious pilaf typically topped with gem-like fruits and nuts. In Iran, Jeweled Rice is typically served at weddings or other celebrations. In a variation on the classic, our rice is filled with an apricot and pistachio filling, then individually molded and served with a saffron beurre blanc sauce. Golden and brightly-colored with vibrant dried accoutrements, this week’s recipe is a spectacle of labor and love. Your extra time and effort on this one will delightfully reward you and others!

Tahdig with Apricot Filling and Saffron Beurre Blanc

Equipment needed – Ateco ring molds

Cook the rice – Rinse the rice in a large mesh colander with cold water until the water runs clear. Add the rice, water and salt to a saucepan. Cover bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook 15 minutes. Fluff the with a fork.

Make the filling – In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and shallot and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the spices and salt. Cook, stirring well, about one more minute. Turn off the heat and add the fruit, nuts, orange peel and shredded carrot.

Make the saffron beurre blanc – In a skillet, saute the shallot until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the vegetable broth, white wine, saffron threads, salt and pepper and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Carefully pour into a high speed blender and purée until smooth. Pour back into the saucepan and add 4 tbsp vegan butter. Simmer until the butter melts. Whisk before serving.

Brown the rice in molds – Rub the ring molds with olive oil. Fill each mold halfway with rice, then add a scoop of the filling. Top with rice and press down tosecure. Bring a large skillet to medium temperature and add olive oil to the pan. Using a spatula, transfer   the ring mold to the skillet. Reduce the heat slightly, cover and cook for 10 minutes, checking the bottom to make sure the rice browns but doesn’t burn, and that the filling is warm.

To serve – Unmold the rice in the rings by running a knife around the edges. Flip over so browned rice is up. Divide the sauce between four shallow bowls and place the molded rice in the center. Top with chopped pistachios,

serves 4


  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 3¼ cups water
  • ½ tsp Maldon salt 


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp Aleppo chili flakes 
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon 
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • salt to taste
  • ½ cup dried apricots, chopped
  • ¼ cup dried barberries
  • ¼ cup golden raisins 
  • ¼ cup dry roasted pistachios
  • ¼ cup slivered candied orange peel
  • ½ cup shredded carrots


  • 2 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • ½ cup vegetable broth
  • ½ cup white wine
  • a pinch of saffron threads, crumbled
  • sea salt and white pepper to taste
  • 4 tbsp vegan butter