I was so excited to do this Months International Food challenge as it was my fav cuisine Persian .. My recent love to Persian cuisine makes me to hunt for some Persian delicacies to bring to my home and make it My way but not affecting the traditional taste. I have already tried and posted a Persian Halva few days back and am again with yet another delicious and so appealing rice from Iran . If you are a great fan of Zafrani rice then you will sure love this version of sweet rice which is traditional Iranian Jeweled Rice. As the original author of the recipe quotes this rice is Named for its gemstone colors — saffron, carrots and orange peel make gold, barberries make rubies, pistachios make emeralds, almonds make pearls — jeweled rice is traditionally served at wedding celebrations. Of course Looking at the ingredients you might think it is a very lengthy process but not at all it is a very simple and as you can see it colorful indeed.
As you might know Iranian and persian cuisine are the same which is traditional cuisine of Iran. This is one of the most popular cuisine of Middle east and the world cuisine are adapted from them Like kababs and Ice creams. The staple food is said to be rice and basmati rice is most often used there. Am so glad that I gave this beautiful rice a try and I totally loved it. The orange rind brings out a very unique taste to the rice and you will not come across any bitter taste from them as they are boiled in water first . The nuts and cranberries add lot of richness to the rice and saffron ofcourse gives the rice an royal flavor. Thanks to savitha of Savitha's Kitchen for suggesting this wonderful rice recipe :)Now moving on to the recipe I wud say this is one gourmet rice variety I have tried :)
Recipe Source :The Kitchen
1 cups long-grain white basmati rice
Salt to taste
1 large orange
2-3 tbsps chopped unsweetened dried cranberries
1/2 tsp loosely-packed saffron (about 1/2 gram) or 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
3-5 tbsp granulated sugar, divided
2-3 tbsp Freshly squeezed orange juice divided ( I substituted for Orange Blossom water)
1 tbsp oil/ butter / ghee
2 tbsp sliced raw almonds, toasted
2 tbsp chopped raw pistachios, toasted
2 tbsp golden or green raisins
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 2-inch long matchsticks
One 1-inch whole cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp freshly ground cardamom
- Wash and soak the rice For about 1 hour and drain the water .
- I a pan boil some water and Mean while slice the orange rind into thick strips including a little of the white pith. Slice theme to silver / Thin strips.
- Once the water is boils, drop the Orange slivers into the water and cook 1 minute. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside. (This cuts the bitterness of the orange rind.)
- Soak the cranberries for 20 minutes in water.
- Crush the saffron threads with a few pinches of sugar until a powder forms using a mortal and pestle . Stir in 1tbsp of orange blossom water/ Orange juice and set aside.
- Heat 1/2 tbsp oil in a large pan add the almonds and the pistachios, and sauté for about a minute. Add the raisins to the pan and toss with the nuts. Transfer them to a bowl and keep them aside
- In anothee pan heat the remaining the saffron orange blossom water/ Orange juice mixture, 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1/2 tablespoon oil over medium heat in the same skillet.
- Add the carrots and orange peel and sauté for 1 minutes. Add the remaining sugar, , the cinnamon stick and the cardamom and sauté for 1 minute. Add 1 cup water, bring to one boil over high heat, then lower to medium heat and cook until the carrots lightly caramelize and the liquid has reduced to a syrup. Drain the carrots and orange peel, and reserve the syrup.
- I cooked the rice in rice cooker with 11/2 cups of water but you can cook the in stove too but the rice should be only half cooked. I seasoned my rice with a little salt and turmeric pd while cooking them.
- Now mix the the reserved carrot/orange syrup to the par-boiled rice. Take a large spoonful of rice at a time and gently spread it over the bottom of the pot. Give the pot a shake to even out the base. Add more spoonfuls of rice, one at a time, gradually shaping it into a pyramid.
- Wrap the lid of the pot with a clean dish towel and cover firmly to prevent steam from escaping. Cook 20 minutes over low heat. like we do for dum Biryani.
- To serve, arrange on a serving platter layers of rice, then the caramelized carrot mixture (discarding the cinnamon stick), then the cranberries as is.