When I was a kid word got out that I loved Zereshk Polow. When information as such gets out all of a sudden it seems as though that’s the one dish that people keep on making for you.  As such,  I have had plenty of it in my life time. PLENTY! As an adult I still love it as I love zereshk,  barberries, and also because it is such a simple polow to make.  Of course, let us not forget that I love all things sour and barberries are indeed sour by nature.


There are a couple of different ways to make Zereshk Polow.  Some folks layer the rice with zereshk and steam them together while others simply make a chelow and add the zereshk on top.  Personally, I am a fan of the first method as I think that the polow as a whole  tastes better. With this said the zereshk changes color in the steaming process and goes from a gorgeous bright ruby red color to a dull brownish color.  So at some point I came up with an idea where I hold on to a little bit of the zereshk and sprinkle it on top of the rice when it’s time to serve it.


2 cups rice

1 cup zereshk

1 tbsp sugar

4 tbsp Saffron water

2 tbsp butter*


canola oil


First cook rice per Cooking Rice for Polow post. In the mean time prep the zereshk.


Pick over the zereshk and remove any steams or stones you may find.  Then soak in water for about 5-10 minutes. I find the best way to do this is by placing the zereshk in a colander and submerging it in a bowl full of water.  Rinse zereshk after soaking.


In a skillet melt 1 tablespoon of  butter then add zereshk. Add sugar and give it a nice stir so that the zereshk is coated with butter and sugar. You will see that it will start to plump up!  Add 2 tablespoon saffron water and let the zereshk absorb the liquid for about one minute. Turn off heat.


Begin layering rice. Prep tahdig in any method you prefer. This time I used canola oil, water and 1 tablespoon saffron water.


Place one layer of rice.


Sprinkle about 1/4 tsp of advieh.  Top with some of the zereshk.


Repeat layers until the last layer is rice  reserving about 1/4 of a cup of zereshk for later.


Create 4-5 holes in the rice with the back of your spatula.


Cover and cook on high for 10 minutes.


Melt 1 tbsp of butter and mix with 1 tablespoon of Saffron water and 1 tablespoon of water.  Pour all over rice.


Place a kitchen towel over the lid of your pot and steam rice on low for one hour.


Serve rice in a platter and top with the reserved zereshk.

Generally, Zereshk Polow is served with chicken. You can either add some cooked chicken as you layer the rice or simply serve it on the side. I think that Mitra’s Sunshine Chicken goes really well with this rice. Alternative, I will be posting another chicken recipe on Wednesday.

Here is a funny video for you all to watch which shows Persian comedian K-von‘s take on making Zereshk Polow.  Gentlemen, should you wish to impress women with your fine Persian cooking  skills,  please, I beg you, make sure that your polow does not come out like K-von’s lop sides master piece! You can fast forward to 5:15 to see it.


And while we are at it, no spinach or carrots either please! Sabzi, on the other hand, Yes!

* Vegans, use vegan butter.