Instant Pot Barberry Rice or Zereshk Polo is the shortcut version of this traditional Persian dish. Beautiful to look at and beguiling to eat, you'll want to add this to your weeknight and dinner party menus all the time!
1/2teaspoon saffronground, soaked in 2 tablespoons water
1/2teaspoonsugaroptional to sweeten barberries
Prepare the Rice
Rinse the rice until the water runs mostly clear. I usually rinse 2-3 times.
Drain the rice and put it in the instant pot.
Add the water, salt and oil and mix it around.
Set the Instant Pot for 5 minutes of high pressure.
Let the instant pot do natural pressure release (NPR) for 10 minutes. Then carefully release the rest of the pressure. (I cover the release valve with a towel and use the end of a wooden spoon to move the valve to open and let the steam release through the towel.)
Open the pot and use a fork to fluff the rice. Remove 2 cups of the rice to mix with the saffron and barberries.
Prepare the Barberries (while rice is cooking)
Soak the barberries in some warm water for 10 – 30 minutes. Extraneous dirt and other debris will sink to the bottom of the bowl.
Lay the drained berries on a towel or paper towel so you can check that all the stems and other foreign matter are gone. Dry them off.
Sauté the barberries with the other tablespoon of olive oil. Add the 1/2 teaspoon of sugar if you prefer to tone back their tartness.
Prepare the Saffron (while rice is cooking)
Use a mortar and pestle, if you have one, to crush the saffron threads.
Soak the threads in 2 tablespoon of water.
Put it all together
Mix the saffron water and barberries with the 2 cups of rice you portioned out.
Place the rest of the rice in a nice serving bowl or platter and then add the saffron barberry rice mixture on top.
Serve with chicken or kabobs or stew - any dish that goes well with rice.