Sour Cherry Persian Rice

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I should really call this recipe Mock Sour Cherry Persian Rice. I definitely did not create this recipe. I did do a good bit of recipe research and melded all the ideas that worked for me into one- and then added roasted onions because my grandson loves roasted onions. Most important of all, of course, is the Tah dig- the crispy rice that forms at the bottom of the pan that assures you that you have prepared it properly. I’ve made this in a regular Dutch Oven and was able to unmold it so the Tah dig came out on top. When I doubled this recipe and made it in a heavy roasting pan, I was unable to unmold it. I had to dig down and scrape out the Tah dig and place it on top of the rice.

Traditionally, this kind of rice recipe is made with white Basmati rice. I’ve made it with brown Basmati and white Basmati. Visually, the white rice makes a prettier presentation; but the brown version was consumed in a flash.

However you choose to make this recipe, as long as you follow the basic steps, people will come back asking for more. Enjoy!

Hint: You can freeze leftovers. Defrost before reheating.

Prep time: 15 minutes- not counting the time it takes to soak the rice

Sour Cherry Persian Rice

By Gloria Kobrin Published: September 18, 2019

  • Yield:

  • 10 Servings


  • 3 cups Basmati rice (white/brown) soaked for at least 30 minutes and drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron soaked in 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 1/2 cup non- dairy margarine/coconut oil margarine/ should be melted
  • 24 ounces bottled sour cherries
  • 8 ounces fresh/frozen pearl onions optional
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil optional
  • 1 cup sugar


  • 1 4 quart Dutch Oven
  • 1 large colander with small holes
  • 1 small strainer
  • 1 saucepan
  • 1 kitchen towel
  • 1 round serving platter that is larger than the size of your Dutch Oven


  1. Pour cherries into a small strainer set over the saucepan. Add sugar to cherry syrup. Stir well and cook over medium heat until syrup has thickened. Set aside until rice is done.
  2. If you are adding onions to this recipe, coat onions in olive oil and roast them in a 400°F oven for 35-45 minutes before adding them to rice.
  3. Fill Dutch oven with 10 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Add drained rice. Boil on medium heat for eight minutes. Remove from heat and carefully drain rice in colander. Be careful the steam doesn't burn your face. Rinse rice with cold water running through the colander.
  4. Pour half the margarine /coconut oil in the Dutch oven. Heat until slightly spattering. Spoon in half the drained rice. Pour half the saffron and soaking liquid over rice. Stir lightly til most of rice is somewhat colored. Sprinkle half the cherries (and half the onions) over the rice. Spoon the remaining rice over the cherries (and onions) Sprinkle remaining saffron and soaking liquid over rice. Pour remaining margarine/coconut oil over the top. Stir gently again. Cover the top with remaining cherries (and onions).
  5. Drape the towel over the top of the pot. Seal it closed with the pot cover. If towel is long, lift up the corners and drape them over the cover so they can't touch the flame. The towel helps the rice to steam and cook the rice. Cook over high heat for 10 minutes. Reduce heat and continue to cook over a low flame for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and let rice sit for 10 minutes. Remove cover and towel. Pour cherry syrup over rice.
  6. To serve: Place serving platter over the top of Dutch Oven. Grip each side of the pot firmly while also holding on to the platter and quickly invert the pot. If you're lucky, the crispy Tah dig on the bottom will release and become a crown for your rice. If it doesn't work, dig it out of the pot with a spoon and place it on top of the rice. Either way, it will be delicious.