Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts

saffron rice recipe, cardamom eggplant recipe

Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins
Roasted Eggplant with Cardamom Oil
Pine Nuts and Sliced Scallion Garnish

Faith said, “If you have time to make the Saffron Rice, please feel free to do so and share your thoughts on the dish and what you served with it.” Well Faith, I’ve made your saffron rice recipe several times since you sent it to me back in September. It rocks. I’ve served it topped with curried chicken salad for lunch, as a side dish to grilled halibut with tomato lemongrass sauce, and over roasted eggplant with cardamom oil. Each time I made the rice, I followed your recipe exactly ~ it’s perfect, balanced, delicious.

An Edible Mosaic

saffron rice eggplant mosaic, how to make a mosaic
Saffron Rice Mosaic in Honor of Faith’s Cookbook

My friend Faith Gorsky from An Edible Mosaic blog just had her first cookbook released: An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair. It is my pleasure to be participating in her Virtual Book Launch Party and sharing a terrific recipe from her book.

The book has over 100 Middle Eastern recipes, with a focus mainly on dishes from the Levant, but also a few recipes from other areas of the Middle East. Faith has a pretty unique story…after getting married Faith spent six months living in the Middle East, where she fell in love with the culture and cuisine. Subsequently, she returned four more times for visits, each time delving deeper into the cuisine and deepening her passion for and appreciation of the region.

Recipes in her book are authentic Middle Eastern, taught to Faith mostly by her mother-in-law, Sahar but streamlined just a bit for the way we cook today, with unique ingredients demystified and cooking techniques anyone can follow. The book is available to order on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

After you check out the recipe below, please head over to Faith’s blog to check out her virtual book launch party to see the other bloggers who are participating. Also, as part of her virtual book launch, Faith is hosting a giveaway of a fabulous set of prizes.

saffron rice, cardamom eggplant with shrimp

Faith’s recipe for Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts is vegan. Her mother-in-law likes to serve the Saffron Rice with an aromatic shrimp dish in tomato sauce (a recipe also in the book). I took her mother-in-law’s advice and served it with shrimp tossed with cardamom oil, salt, and pepper.

An Edible Mosaic by Faith E. Gorsky

an edible mosaic
An Edible Mosaic by Faith Gorsky
Saffron Rice by Faith Gorsky

Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts
Pictured with Shrimp in Aromatic Tomato Sauce

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.

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.

Saffron Rice & Roasted Eggplant with Cardamom Oil Inspired by Faith Gorsky

saffron cost comparison

Saffron Price Comparison

Organic Saffron $7.49
Trader Joe’s Saffron $5.99

One would expect organic saffron to cost more. But once I began cooking with the organic brand I noticed that there seemed to be less product. Lo and behold, after consulting the labels…organic saffron sold in the same size container was 0.007 oz. compared with Trader Joe’s 0.20 oz. a difference of almost 3 times!

Cost comparison based on weight of 0.20 oz.

Organic Saffron $7.49 X 2.86 = $21.42
Trader Joe’s Saffron = $5.99

I’ve cooked with both varieties and could detect no difference in taste. My question is regarding value. Since only a tiny bit of saffron is ever used in any dish, is the organic variety worth the price? What say you?

Cardamom Oil

how to make cardamom oil, cardamom seeds

Faith’s variation suggestion for the rice inspired me to roast eggplant with the heady cardamon oil. It is made by simply roasting 1/4 c. of cardamom seeds in their husks in a dry skillet then placing them in a blender with 1/2. c. of grapeseed oil and blending until incorporated.

how to make cardamom oil, cardamom seeds

I reused the original jar to save the oil. Let the heavy part of the sediment settle out, then use the top oil to brush the eggplant.

roasted eggplant with cardamom recipe

Slice Japanese eggplant in half lengthwise, score the flesh in a diamond pattern. Brush the eggplants with half olive oil, half cardamom oil. The gorgeous cardamom oil is quite intense and perfume-y, so use half olive oil as to not over-power the dish. Season with salt and pepper then roast at 400° for about 30 minutes until the eggplant is soft and browned.

saffron rice, cardamom eggplant

Serve Faith’s saffron rice over the eggplant, garnish with pine nuts and sliced scallions. Optionally, top with shrimp sautéed in olive oil, and lightly tossed with a drizzle of cardamom oil, seasoned with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

Best Wishes Faith!

Faith is a sweet, positive, gracious woman, and a passionate accomplished cook and photographer. I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of her book launch. We all wish her huge success with An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair! Read more, enter the giveaway, and wish her luck here!

26 thoughts on “Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts”

  1. I adore your take on Faith’s recipe! I love that you made it with grilled eggplant, which is one of my all time favorite veggies and put shrimp on it as well. Your pictures are beautiful and now that I’ve found your site, I can’t wait to try some of your recipes!

  2. Gosh, this is absolutely beautiful, LL! That mosaic is *truly* a work of art.

    I am thrilled that you’ve been enjoying the rice, and I love your serving suggestions! Next time I make SaffRice, it will be with this beautiful eggplant.

    I am honored to have you participating. Thank you so much, my friend.

  3. The rice was delicious on its own, but the addition of grilled eggplant is absolutely brilliant – will definitely use your eggplant recipe when I make this again!

  4. I love your tip on making cardamom oil – I’ve been infatuated with Middle Eastern and Moroccan spices for a couple of years but never thought to make an infused oil! Creative and inspiring as always, LL. Oh, and I buy the Trader Joe’s saffron.

  5. Good to see you too LL!! I think we all get caught up in every day life, and some of our favorite blogs get lost in the shuffle. So glad this post brought us together again, and talk about photos? Yours are positively stunning!! That first photo should be on the cover of a magazine… beautiful.
    This rice is SO versatile, and I know it will become a staple foundation for so many things. LOVE the idea of the shrimp, and I’m’ also loving the scallions you sprinkled. The dish just went from a side to a meal, and with my son’s new discovery that he likes shrimp, this is even more of a winner.
    Now, to the saffron… wow!! I shop almost exclusively organic, however, I think that with the amount of saffron used in dishes, that I would NOT pay the higher price. I’m a pretty big TJ’s fan… actually, I adored the little jar the saffron came in! Yep… non-organic for me!
    So good to see you!

  6. Hello Lori!
    What a lovely presentation of Faith’s dish! Definitely going to try this with eggplant. Very impressive. I’m moving so will not be blogging for a couple weeks, but when I get settled, I’ll check in. Your blog is wonderful!

  7. Oh, my gosh, LL, your photos are simply amazing! Not that I’d expect anything less from you, but I’m always struck by the beauty of your photography. So fun to join you in celebrating Faith’s book release…I miss stopping by here!!! Hope you’ve been well, my friend!!! xo

  8. As Liz says, your photography is always magnificent, LL. I’d come here for the eye candy alone ~ to be inspired by your enticing recipes as well is a bonus. All the best to Faith with her book. She sounds lovely.

  9. Your presentation of this delicious rice is absolutely gorgeous! Thanks for going into the cardamom oil! I love the sound of it and can wait to make it. It sounds delicious used with the eggplant.

  10. I love eggplant–why didn’t I think of pairing Faith’s rice with it? Love the way you prepared the Saffron rice here. Will have to try this way next time.

    Nice to have been a part of Faith’s book launch with you. 🙂

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