saffron rice with golden raisins and pine nuts

by Kristina Sloggett

in cookbook review

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.


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