This traditional wedding dish is a delicious recipe with beautiful gem-like colored fruits and nuts overload with flavor, scent, and balance. These ingredients, especially fruits and nuts, make this dish very healthy combined with the health benefits of turmeric.
Making this rice is a time commitment and a work of love. You’ll probably need to do a little shopping to prepare this traditional dish, but the ingredients aren’t hard to find. In any case, the finished dish is impressive and well worth it. Here is how to prepare it.
Turmeric Saffron Jeweled Rice
2 cups basmati rice
1/4 cup unsalted, shelled raw natural pistachios
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup dried barberries or 1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 medium carrots, peeled, cut into matchstick-size pieces
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- Preheat oven to 350°. Spread pistachios on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until it begins to brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate, let cool, then cut into large pieces. Spread almonds on the same baking sheet and toast until golden brown, 5–8 minutes; let cool. Set nuts aside.
- Place the rice in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse with cold water until the water runs clear. Cook the rice in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until the grains have lengthened but are still firm, 6–7 minutes; drain and rinse with cold water. Spread rice on another rimmed baking sheet; let cool.
- Meanwhile, using a vegetable peeler, remove zest from orange and thinly slice lengthwise (reserve flesh for another use). Bring sugar and 1 cup of water to a boil in a medium saucepan while stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add orange zest and carrots, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender, 15 to 20 minutes; drain and set aside (discard syrup).
- Combine barberries and raisins in a small bowl and cover with hot water; soak for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside. Place saffron in another small bowl and add 1/4 cup of hot water; set aside.
- Heat butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, salt and cook, stirring frequently for 8–10 minutes until softened and browning. Add cardamom, turmeric, cumin, and 1 tablespoon saffron mixture. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly until fragrant.
- Reduce heat to low, add barberries and raisins, and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in reserved nuts and orange zest and carrot mixture; season with salt. Set fruit and nut mixture aside.
- Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil in a large wide pot over medium heat. Add half of the
rice, spreading evenly; top with fruit and nut mixture, then the remaining rice, spreading evenly. Using the end of a wooden spoon, poke 5 to 6 holes in rice all the way through to the bottom of the pot (to help release steam and help the rice to cook evenly).
- Drizzle the rest of saffron mixture over rice. Place a clean kitchen towel over pot, cover it with a tight-fitting lid, and secure loose edges of towel on top of the lid, using a rubber band or masking tape.
- Cook for 5–8 minutes until pot starts to steam. Reduce heat to very low and cook for 30–40 minutes without stirring until rice is tender and the bottom layer of rice is browned and crisp.
- Scoop rice into a wide serving bowl, breaking bottom crust into pieces.
DO AHEAD: The fruit and nut mixture can be made 2 days ahead. Cover fruit and nut mixture and the remaining of saffron mixture separately and let cool.