saffron rice with golden raisins and pine nuts

Today I am participating in a Virtual Book Launch Party for my friend Faith Gorsky and her new cookbook, An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair (she writes a blog with the same name). The book features more than one hundred Middle Eastern recipes, with a focus mainly on dishes from the Levant, but also a few recipes from other areas of the Middle East.

The recipes in this beautiful book are authentic Middle Eastern, with easy to follow and approachable methods. Taught many of these dishes by her mother in law, Faith explains techniques and demystifies ingredients, and the result is delicious.

The recipe I made for the Virtual Book Launch is easy to prepare and exceptionally tasty – Jason and I both loved this and I have made it twice already!

Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts 


Recipe courtesy of An Edible Mosaic:  Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair by Faith Gorsky (Tuttle Publishing; Nov. 2012); reprinted with permission. 

Serves 4 to 6  

Preparation Time: 10 minutes  

Cooking Time: 20 minutes, plus 15 minutes to let the rice sit after cooking 

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. 
  1. 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. 
  2. 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. 
  3. 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.

Are you a fan of Middle Eastern dishes? Faith’s beautiful cookbook is available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.



    • spabettie says

      I have a good friend who is Middle Eastern (which means I have MANY friends, because I know all of his siblings and cousins…) and I have been treated to many Middle Eastern dishes with him – they all cook wonderfully, and one of his cousins has a restaurant… OOH it is fun to go there! :)

  1. says

    Ooh, this looks so hearty and delicious! How can you stand having all this yummy food around all the time?! I think I would be in a food coma permanently. lol!

  2. says

    Looks stunning — and delicious! I am sure the raisins could be omitted, but to keep the full flavors of the dish, would you have any recommendations for anything else that could be a similar substitute for the flavor & texture? We only have one raisin lover in our house :)

    • spabettie says

      hi Marlynn! yes, you could just leave them out – one thing I thought of using in place of raisins was dried apricots – they would bring a sweet tart flavor that may not be traditional but I think would work well.

  3. says

    I am absolutely honored to have you participating in my virtual book launch party, Kristina! Thank you so much, my friend.

    And you just made my day – so happy you guys are enjoying the rice!!

    • spabettie says

      I agree, this was SO good – I will be making this again! this has been a festive week with all the blog love going on – I like it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *