I’m so excited to be part of this online event, a virtual book launch for the wonderful Faith of the blog An Edible Mosaic and her new debut cook book, An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair. Middle Eastern cuisine is one I have very much enjoyed eating, but am yet to do much cooking of, and so I’m sure the 100+ recipes (mainly from the Levant) in the book will be fascinating and keep me busy for a long time! I always enjoy reading Faith’s blog and learning about new recipes and flavours, so I’m sure the book would be great, and the photos I’ve seen show its a pretty stunning one too. Can’t wait to get it and start experimenting. The recipe Faith chose for us all to make for the virtual book launch event was Saffron Rice with Golden Sultanas and Pine Nuts which I thought was a clever idea as then everybody can twist it up to suit them and pair it with a million different dishes. I skipped the golden sultanas, simply because I didn’t have any in the house, and my family had the dish with Green Chicken Curry. I know blending these dishes is quite unusual, not exactly a traditional combination, but they still both tasted good! I don’t think my photos of the rice could really do it justice, a sit was a classic dark November evening and my hungry family ate super quickly, so I’ll use the lovely one from the book:As I expected, the rice was very tasty. I don’t often make interesting side dishes, sticking to plain rice and simple vegetables, so it was fun to make something a little bit different and more complex as an accompaniment. I loved the deep nuttiness of the toasted pine nuts against the sweet onion and soft rice and this combination is definitely something I’ll remember in the future as it was so simple but effective. I definitely recommend heading over to the book launch to see what everybody did with recipe, and if you’d also like to learn more about Middle Eastern cooking the book is available on Amazon. I’ll leave you with the recipe…
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.
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.