I’m very happy to share this post with you today. My friend, Faith Gorsky, of An Edible Mosaic has just released her first cookbook : An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair (Nov. 6, 2012, Tuttle Publishing). This post is part of her official book launch party and we get to share a recipe from her book with you.
Faith’s book has over 100 Middle Eastern recipes with a focus mainly on dishes from the Levant but there are also recipes from other areas of the Middle East. She fell in love with Middle Eastern culture after living there for six months and has since returned four more times, each subsequent visit increasing her appreciation and passion for the region. The authentic recipes in her book have been taught to Faith mostly by her mother-in-law, Sahar, but Faith has adapted them slightly for the way we cook today. Faith has made it so that dishes that we might be intimidated to try are now approachable and very easy to follow.
This Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts is a perfect example of the kind of dish you can expect to enjoy in Faith’s book. Rice is the cornerstone of Middle Eastern cuisine. In Faith’s version, fragrant basmati rice is infused with flavor from spices and elevated to extraordinary with the addition of raisins and pine nuts. This Saffron Rice was a hit in my home–the balance of sweet and nutty combined with the essence of cloves and cinnamon and the color from the saffron made this not just a tasty dish but one not to be overshadowed by whatever main dish it is served with.
- 1½ cups (325 g) basmati rice, rinsed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts
- 1 onion, ﬁnely diced
- 4 tablespoons sultanas (golden raisins)
- 1¾ cups (425 ml) boiling water
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon saffron threads (or ½ teaspoon turmeric)
- Soak the rice in tepid water for 10 minutes; drain. While the rice is soaking, put half a kettle of water on to boil.
- Add the oil to a medium, thick-bottomed lidded saucepan over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and cook until golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Transfer the pine nuts to a small bowl and set aside.
- Add the onion to the saucepan you cooked the pine nuts in, and cook until softened and just starting to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the rice and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the sultanas, boiling water, salt, and saffron (or turmeric), turn the heat up to high, and bring it to a rolling boil.
- Give the rice a stir, then cover the saucepan, turn the heat down to very low, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes (do not open the lid during this time). Turn the heat off and let the rice sit (covered) 15 minutes, then ﬂuff with a fork.
- Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle the toasted pine nuts on top; serve.
- OPTIONAL Add two pods of cardamom, two whole cloves, and one 2-inch (5 cm) piece of cinnamon stick at the same time that you add the rice.