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
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.
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
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 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?
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.
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.
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.
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!