Lamb, Barberries & Orange Pilaf (Gheymeh Nesa)

Lamb Barberries and orange pilaf - Gheyme Nesa

Lamb, Barberries & Orange pilaf (Gheyme Nesa). What a beautifully aromatic dish this is. The flavours coming from the spices and in particular the fresh orange peel and barberries is a marriage made in heaven.

The lamb brings an earthy taste which balances out the rest of the dish. The house at the moment just smells of saffron and orange peel! How totally warm and christmasy I’m starting to feel 😁 Yum.


For the Gheymeh

300g lamb

1 medium sized onion

1/4 cup oil for frying the onion (I used  vegtable oil)

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp pepper

1 tsp salt

2 Tblsp tomato puree

2 pinches of ground saffron

2 Tblsp fresh orange peel (1 medium sized orange)

2 Tblsp Barberries

1 Tblsp Almond slivers

1 Tblsp Pistachio slivers

1 tsp white granulated sugar

For the rice

2 1/2 cups white rice

Water (enough to fill half of the pot so your rice boils freely without sticking together)

1 Tblsp oil

1 Tblsp salt


Finely chop the onion and fry till golden brown.

Add the turmeric and fry for a further 30 seconds, stirring continuously.

Cut the meat into 1/4 inch cubes.

Add the meat to the fried onions and stir vigorously for 3 minutes.

Gheymeh Nesa

Add the cinnamon, pepper and salt and stir over a medium heat for a further 2 minutes.

Add the tomato puree and stir for a further 5 minutes.

Gheymeh Nesa

Add 2 cups cold water, the saffron and sugar.

Allow the Gheymeh to come to the boil.

Reduce the heat and cover the top of your pot. Allow the meat to cook through. This will take 45 minutes.

While the Gheymeh is cooking wash the barberries several times using a flour seive to ensure the grit is washed away.


Peel the rind of one orange, slice and chop further into small pieces.


Place the rind in a saucepan, add 1 cup of water and bring to the boil.


Drain the water away.

Add a further 1 cup of water and bring to the boil again. Drain the water (This is to remove the bitterness from the orange rind).

Add the washed barberries


and orange rind


stir and remove the Gheymeh from the heat and set aside.

Method for making the rice

Add 2 1/2 cups of white rice (I used basmati) to a large pot. Wash the rice to remove any dust or dirt from it.

Add cold water (enough to fill half of the pot so your rice boils freely without sticking together).

Add the oil and salt to the rice and gently stir breifly.

Allow the water to boil and your rice to be par cooked.

Remove the rice from the heat and drain the water from the rice, you can use a rice drainer or fine holed Collander for this.


Once the water has been drained from the rice gently mix it with the Gheymeh.


Cover the inside of the top with a teacloth so that the cloth wraps around the top, (this will absorb the water forming from the rising steam so that it does not drop back onto the rice and make it soggy).

Place the top back on the pot. Place back on medium heat for 5 minutes.

Reduce the heat to low and allow the rice to steam for 30 minutes.

Once the rice has steamed remove from the heat and remove the teacloth.


Slightly toast the pistachio and almond slivers.


Finally serve the Gheymeh Nesa in a large dish / tray and sprinkle the toasted pistachio and almonds over it. You can also sprinkle dry rose petals as seen in the main image.

Gheymeh Nesa

Enjoy! Noosh-e-jaan 😃

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