Jeweled Rice

December 8, 2015
Jeweled Rice - A recipe that's a true labor of love .. producing a dish that's absolutely stunning

The average human body contains enough: iron to make a 3″ nail

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enough sulfur to kill all of the fleas on an average dog, carbon to make 900 pencils, potassium to fire a toy cannon, fat to make 7 bars of soap, phosphorus to make 2,200 match heads and water to fill a

ten-gallon fish tank

A few other fun facts about water and our bodies

An average human drinks about 16,000 gallons of water in their lifetime

By the time we feel thirsty, we’ve lost over one percent of our total water amount

Water leaves the stomach only 5 minutes after consumption

Babies and kids have more water (as a percentage) than adults.  Women have less water than men (again, as a percentage)

Our brains are 75%, bones 25%, and blood is 83% water

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Today .. Part IV .. the last in a short series about water

Part I – I shared a bit of about my journey to discover, not only what works for me, but the facts around why

Part II – Why is water the most important element in nutrition?  What are the two main compartments where it’s stored in our body?  What are some of the incredible things it does for us?

Part III – How do our bodies maintain proper fluid balance?  What are the seasons of our lives where we may have higher needs for water?  For the athletes among us, what’s considered to be the gold standard for water consumption during and after strenuous exercise?

How much water do we need every day?

As important as water is, there isn’t a recommended daily allowance (RDA).  The biggest reason being nothing happens in a vacuum, and we’ll want to consider not just the amount of water we’re taking in, but all of the factors come into play when determining how much we lose

A pretty good place to start?  About 2.5 to 2.8 liters of water (or 85 to 95 oz) are what’s required for a sedentary adult in a normal environment (which constitutes most average Americans).

Jeweled Rice - A recipe that's a true labor of love .. producing a dish that's absolutely stunning

This water comes from three main sources: the liquids we drink, water in the food we eat, and also from our metabolism as it breaks down the food in our body

On average, the water in our food contributes about 34 oz to the total.  If you’re someone who eats a diet filled with fruits and vegetables, this amount will be significantly higher, as they average 75 to 95% water (depending)

Meat is also mostly water; in fact, 70-75%.  Certainly, cooking will reduce this amount, as it dries it out (more, the longer it’s cooked)

Metabolic water will contribute only about 12 oz.  When food is broken down for energy, both carbon dioxide and water are formed.  As with any other water source, this metabolic water is available for our bodies to use however it sees fit

Then there are the liquids we drink.  Besides pure water, most beverages contain some as well.  But a note to the alcohol and caffeine drinkers we know and love, these are considered diuretics, so they’ll be in the depletors column

Once you’ve established an estimate of where you should start, the next step is to think about some of the depletors you have in your days.

For example, the body’s need for water will increase depending on factors like amount of exercise someone’s doing  (particularly aerobic exercise where they will sweat a lot), how much caffeine or soda they’re drinking, if they’re following a high protein diet, or the temperature (hot weather = increased need for water).

Special Water Needs

Although Part III touched on this topic, it’s so important; I wanted to include it here again

There are cases where special attention should be given, and a person will want to be diligent about increasing their water consumption

Infants:  The body surface of an infant is far greater than that of an adult, and therefore, they’ll lose relatively more fluid via their skin throughout the day.  If they have diarrhea or a case of vomiting, again it’s relative, because their body mass is so much less

Elderly:  The elderly people we love typically have less lean tissue and higher body fat, and therefore a higher need for water

Anyone with a fever, who’s vomiting, or has diarrhea.  Those taking diuretics (this includes caffeine and soda!).  Anyone following a high protein diet, lives in a hot environment, or is exercising strenuously

Jeweled Rice - A recipe that's a true labor of love .. producing a dish that's absolutely stunning

Where to go from here?

Curious about where you’re at?  I’d encourage you to monitor your fluid intake for a few days, with some of these water sources and depletors in mind.

If you find you’re routinely coming up short, it may be time to up your intake to reach, at least the minimum level.  When under-hydration is the norm, our bodies will operate in conservation mode, and decrease thirst.  By increasing water, over time, the body will re-hydrate and re-activate its true sense of thirst.

As this series draws to a close, my sincerest wish is for everyone to make getting enough water a part of your everyday routine. It’s one of the easiest ways we’re able to love and take care of the

incredible body we’ve been given

Jeweled Rice - A recipe that's a true labor of love .. producing a dish that's absolutely stunning

When my brother passes along a recipe, I’ve no doubt it’s going to be a good one.

Bon Appetit’s take on the more traditional Persian Jeweled Rice is incredible indeed.  We loved the combination of orange, spices, roasted nuts, and pomegranate seeds, along with crispy browned basmati rice.

The dish is called jeweled rice because it’s golden and colorful, laced with butter, orange, spices, roasted nuts, and barberries.  If you’re not able to find dried barberries, dried cherries, goji berries, or dried cranberries are great substitutions.

One goal in making the recipe is to achieve the crisp, buttery layer on the bottom of your pot.  The technique isn’t difficult, although admittedly, it takes a bit of practice.

After the rice is rinsed well, it’s parboiled for 6 or 7 minutes and drained.  The partially cooked rice is then layered into a well-buttered pan, along with the fruit and nut mix.  Over a moderate flame, it’s allowed to brown gently before being splashed with a small amount of saffron-infused water.

From there a kitchen towel covers the pot, along with a tightly fitting lid, and the heat is turned down to low, allowing the rice to steam gently.  With a little luck and experience, the rice finished cooking, and crispy crust is formed

Jeweled Rice makes an excellent side but is also hearty enough for a meal.  If you’re looking for a boost of protein, simply add a few lentils, chickpeas, or your favorite protein.  It’s also great for breakfast with a poached egg on top

Any way you dish is up; I’m certain you’ll appreciate the mix of bright colors and flavors



ps:  You can read more about water in Part I  |  Part II  |  Part III  of the series

pps:  Want to learn more?  Sources used for this series include:  Water:  For Health, for Healing, for Living by F. Batmanghelidj .. Water: The Essential Ingredient for Life by C.D. Shelton .. Journal of Water and Health .. CDC .. Mind Body Green .. and Mayo Clinic

         Water trivia resources .. ..

— — —

~ Adapted from Bon Appetit | June 2013

Jeweled Rice


  • ¼ cup pistachios, unsalted
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds
  • 2 cups brown basmati rice
  • kosher salt
  • 1 orange
  • cup natural sugar (Sugar in the Raw or Turbinado)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled, and cut into matchstick-size pieces
  • ¼ cup dried barberries (or ½ cup dried cranberries)
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ tsp saffron threads
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric


  • Toast the Nuts
  • Preheat the oven to 350° F
  • Spread the pistachios on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until they're just beginning to brown (~ 4 minutes). Transfer them to a plate, let them cool, and then coarsely chop
  • On the same baking sheet, spread the almonds and toast until their golden brown (~ 5-8 minutes). Let cool and set aside

  • Pre-Cook the Rice
  • Place rice in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse under cold water until water runs clear.
  • Cook the rinsed rice in a large pot of boiling, salted water, stirring occasionally until grains have lengthened but are still firm, 6–7 minutes; drain and rinse again under cold water.
  • Spread the rice on another rimmed baking sheet and let cool

  • Cook the Carrots
  • Meanwhile, using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from orange and thinly slice it lengthwise (reserve the flesh for another use).
  • In a medium saucepan, add the sugar and water. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar
  • Add the orange zest and carrots, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender (~ 15–20 minutes).
  • Drain and set aside (discard the syrup)

  • Prepare the Barberries, Raisins, and Saffron
  • Combine barberries and raisins in a small bowl. Cover with hot water and let soak 10-15 minutes, or until they've pumped up. Drain and set aside.
  • In another small bowl, add the saffron threads and ¼ cup hot water. Set aside

  • Fruit and Nut Mix
  • In a large skillet over medium, heat the butter and 1 Tbsp olive oil.
  • Add the onion, season with sea salt, and cook, stirring often, until soft and beginning to brown (~ 8–10 minutes)
  • Add the cardamom, cumin, turmeric, and 1 Tbsp of the saffron mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant (~ 1 minute)
  • Reduce the heat to low, add the barberries and raisins; cook, stirring often (~ 3 minutes).
  • Stir in the reserved roasted nuts, orange zest, and carrot mixture; season with salt.
  • Set fruit and nut mixture aside

  • Jeweled Rice
  • Heat the remaining 3 Tbsp oil in a large wide heavy pot, over medium heat.
  • Add half of the rice, spreading evenly.
  • Top with the fruit and nut mixture, then the remaining rice, spreading evenly.
  • Using the end of a wooden spoon, poke holes in the rice, all the way through to the bottom of the pot (to release steam and help the rice cook evenly).
  • Drizzle the remaining saffron mixture over rice. Place a clean kitchen towel over the pot, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and secure loose edges of towel on top of the lid, using a rubber band or masking tape.
  • Cook until the pot has begun to steam (~ 5–8 minutes)
  • Reduce heat to very low and cook, without stirring, until the rice is tender and the bottom layer of the rice is browned and crisp (~ 30–40 minutes)
  • Scoop rice into a wide serving bowl, breaking the bottom crust into pieces

  • DO AHEAD: Fruit and nut mixture can be made 2 days ahead. Cover fruit and nut mixture and remaining saffron mixture separately and chill.
Serves: 6
Nutrition + Show
Calories 325
Total Fat 19.3g
Saturated Fat 4.5g
Carbohydrates 36g
Fiber 3.7g
Sugars 12.7g
Protein 5g
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1 Comment

  • Reply Karly January 24, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    Another fun fact- although it may not be true, I feel like I could live off of this rice and this rice alone. Seriously looks SO tasty! Definitely trying this soon!

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