Bejah’s RIce

Bejah's Rice

Bejah's Rice (L) named in honor of the great Afghan Cameleer (R)

Recipe: Bejah’s Rice

Summary: Persian Rice dish named in honour of the great cameleer Bejah Dervish


  1. 2 cups basmati or jasmine rice
  2. 3 cloves
  3. 2 sticks cinnamon
  4. 3–4 cardamom pods
  5. 1 medium-sized brown onion, finely diced
  6. 2 tablespoons butter
  7. 2 tablespoons neutral oil
  8. 3 tablespoons zereshk (Iranian barberries), washed
  9. 1 teaspoon sugar
  10. 3 tablespoons chopped mint
  11. ½ cup pistachio nuts
  12. ½ cup pine nuts
  13. 2 tablespoons chopped coriander


  1. Place 2 cups of rice in a saucepan with cloves, cinnamon and cardamom pods. Place your index finger on top of the rice and pour cold water over the rice until the water is the depth of your second finger-joint.
  2. Cover and bring to the boil, then simmer very gently for 20 minutes until the rice is dry and fluffy.
  3. In a heavy pan, fry the onion in the butter and oil until transparent. Add the zereshk and sugar. Fry for a minute, but don’t burn the sugar.
  4. Add the chopped mint and pistachio and pine nuts. Continue stirring with a wooden spoon but don’t let it get too dry; add a dash of water if necessary.
  5. Fold in the cooked base rice, fry a little and serve immediately, topped with a few sprigs of coriander.

Quick Notes

Can be served as a snack, side or for lunch or dinner. You can substitute currents for the zereshk, but it is not really good. Zereshk are available from Iranian stores, it is worth the trouble seeking them out!

Cooking time (duration): 45

Number of servings (yield): 4

Culinary tradition: Persian

My rating: 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

Microformatting by hRecipe.


4 Responses to Bejah’s RIce

  1. Natalie Bebe Hunter says:

    The Cameleer Bejah Dervish is my Great Grandfather

    • Andrew Dwyer says:

      Hi Natalie,
      Your great grandfather must have been an amazing person. I wrote about him in my book OUTBACK – Recipes and Stories from the Campfire. So is Jack your father? I have been travelling to Marree for the past 25 years and often pass Bejah Dervish’s house. Thank you for commenting. At present I am renovating my house and have not had time to post, but will be posting more soon.

  2. william bejah says:

    i am the grandson of Bejah Dervish and live in Port Augusta
    i often travel to Marree and stay in the old house

    • Andrew Dwyer says:

      Thank you William for posting, what an honor to have Bejah’s grandson visit my blog. I have been a great fan of his for many year, especially his heroic deeds on the Calvert Expedition. I wrote a chapter on this in my book Outback – Recipes and stories from the campfire and included the photo of him with warrior. Whenever I travel through Marree I stop at the old house. Pity about the date palms dying. Would love to meet you one day. Thanks for posting!

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