BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

Accessibility help
Text only
BBC Homepage
BBC Radio
Woman's Hour - Weekdays 10-11am, Saturdays 4-5pm
Listen online to Radio 4

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!

Pearl Divers' Rice


Serves 4 as a side dish
225g (8oz) basmati rice
2.5ml (½ tsp) saffron threads steeped in 30ml (2tbsp) hot water
15ml (1 tbsp) rosewater
seeds of 3 cardamom pods, crushed
60ml (4 tbsp) runny honey
75g (2¾ oz) butter
60ml (4 tbsp) olive oil
salt and black pepper


Wash the rice in a sieve until the water is clear, then soak it for a couple of hours. Bring a pan of water to the boil and tip in the drained rice. Cook it for about 4 minutes, until the outside of the grain is softening but the inside remains hard.

While the rice is cooking, mix the saffron with the rosewater and the crushed cardamom.

Drain the rice, rinse it with warm water and tip it into a bowl.

Stir the honey through the warm rice while you heat the butter and oil in a saucepan. When the fats are sizzling, add the honeyed rice and let it cook for a couple of minutes. Add the saffron, cardamom and rosewater mix, season with salt and pepper and stir everything together.

Make three holes in the rice with the end of a wooden spoon. Wrap the pan lid in a clean tea-towel, being sure to fold the edges underneath, and cover the pan. Turn the heat right down. Let the rice cook for about 15 minutes. Put the cooked rice in a serving dish and scrape the crusty bits off the bottom of the pan. Either stir the crusty bits through the rice or put them on the top. Serve immediately.

Reproduced with the kind permission of Diana Henry from her book Crazy Water, Pickled Lemon, Mitchell Beazley; ISBN: 1840005017
Listen now to the latest Woman's Hour
Listen Now
Latest programme
Listen again to previous programmes
Listen Again
Previous programmes

Retired? Downsizing? Moving home to be nearer the kids?

We'd like to hear your stories about moving house


About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy