Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts


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.

Faith’s book is available for sale now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  And be sure to visit her site to participate in her book launch party.  Faith is hosting a giveaway with over $1300 worth of items! 



5.0 from 8 reviews
Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This is just one of over 100 delicious Middle Eastern recipes from Faith Gorsky's new book, An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair.
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Serves: 4-6
  • 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)
  1. Soak the rice in tepid water for 10 minutes; drain. While the rice is soaking, put half a kettle of water on to boil.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle the toasted pine nuts on top; serve.
  6. 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.





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  1. I am so happy that this dish was a hit in your home! Truly makes my day to hear that. I can’t thank you enough for participating in this event, my friend…I am so touched and truly honored! xo

  2. This is such a pretty dish! Love the raisin and nuts combo. Way to jazz up a boring rice. Faith’s book looks beautiful. It’s on my wish list!

  3. So happy to see you’re a part of Faith’s cookbook launch! I loved the saffron rice too and will definitely be making it again and again. Your photos of the dish are absolutely gorgeous!

  4. Such a beautiful rice recipe! One I certainly must try 🙂

  5. This is such an interesting recipe. It is great because these are not difficult ingredients to get and some are staples in my pantry! So excited about this book!

  6. The rice looks wonderful! I need to get my hands on this book, everything I have seen about it looks great!

  7. I am loving everything I’m seeing from Faith’s beautiful book. You’ve made this rice look absolutely beautiful, Jean!

  8. Hi jean ~ it is great to be a part of Faith’s book launch. That rice recipe totally rocks.
    Love the light in your photos too. So pretty!

  9. I’m so thrilled for Faith and her book, and this rice is gorgeous! Love your serving bowl and the delicate saffron threads!

  10. I’m glad to find you through Faith’s book launch. I love your dish that the rice is in – so pretty! I’ll be stopping by more often now.

  11. Such a beautiful rice dish…can’t wait to try it! And such a beautiful book!

  12. I’m definitely adding this cookbook to my holiday wishlist! Gorgeous presentation-I can practically smell the aroma of saffron through the screen.

  13. I just recently discovered Faith’s site (where have I been???). I love this beautiful saffrom rice! I actually just made saffrom risotto two days ago, so I’m on a saffron high. I actually have some left over strands, and I just might make this rice dish! Oh, then after the saffron risotto, I made turmeric basmati rice the following day. My family is just wondering what’s up with all the “yellow food” – ha!

  14. Such beautiful pictures, this must be gorgeous. Thank you! I’m visiting Faith’s page.

  15. So scrumptious! This book is wonderful and I really enjoy it…



  16. That dish looks beautiful! (I am so excited about this cookbook…) Normally I am not a fan of raisins in savory contexts, but I am definitely a sucker for any dish that contains pine nuts. Lovely!

  17. Oh my gosh, I am seeing this book being publicized on so many blogs at the moment – it must be amazing. I love the rice dish and the photos.

  18. Yea for Fatih and I like how you captured the threads of saffron with the camera. So happy we could give her this support.

  19. What a beautiful dish Jean! That is so nice of you to help get the word out to everyone. I am sure the book is filled with lovely recipes. Love your photos!!

  20. Lora @cakeduchess says:

    Such an exciting time for Faith. Your version is beautiful, Jean. I loved this dish and can’t wait to try other recipes from the book when I get it:)

  21. I’ve commented on this recipe from others to the point where if I don’t eat it soon my head will explode. It looks really good and your photos are gorgeous as always.

  22. we loved this rice too! your photos are gorgeous!

  23. Your rice looks great! Love your pictures 🙂 It’s awesome to be a part of this party with you!

  24. Loving the flavorful saffron rice from this cookbook, beautiful photos.

  25. This rice looks wonderful; I absolutely love saffron! Gorgeous photos!

  26. I don’t know a single thing about Middle Eastern cooking and this seems to be friendly enough for a first recipe to try. I love saffron, basmati, raisins and pine nuts. I should go and try this!

  27. Beautiful rice shots Jean!!!

  28. Wow… such a beautiful saffron rice. Rice has side dish image and I always feel it’s hard to take pictures of it, but you nailed it Jean! Simple food but GORGEOUS food!

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