Jewelled rice pilaf

imageSo by now you know that I am a big sucker for anything shiny and colourful. So when I found this recipe I felt like shouting ,,Where have you been all of my life?”. But I contained myself and instead made a huge, and I do mean huge, pile of it and ate it all by myself. Yes sirrie Bob. That is exactly what I did and I have not one morsel of remorse about it either! But since sharing is caring, today as a conselation price you get the recipe.

I made this rice dish to accompany Annapurna’s aubergines I wrote about in my last post because I was adament to impress the Goddess to the best of my ability. But really this rice pilaf is a complete meal in and of itself. It’s a Persian dish in origin and I so love the Persian cuisine for it’s ability to be as refined in taste as it can be over the top in looks. This dish definitely falls in the way way over the top category and I wouldn’t have it any other way when an Indian Goddess (or any Goddess for that matter) is involved.

imageNow before you start complaining about the amount of time this recipe takes or the lenghty list of ingredients let me start by saying I DON’T CARE. You wouldn’t complain to Valentino when he is making you a couture dress that I takes too long either. Or have the audacity to ask Picasso if for once he could get his painting done in half an hour. No, when it comes to art you would be as patient as a fresh lover waiting for his new object of desire to get ready for a date. You would know better than to rush anyone who is striving for one thing and one thing only; PERFECTION. And so it is with this dish. Rush it and you will miss the whole symbolic point of making a pile of edible jewels for you and your loved ones. But take your time and you will be rewarded with riches untold….

In actual fact the rice itself really is done in a jiffy. The only time consuming part of the dish is the preparation of the individual “jewels” that go on top of the rice and the arranging of them. If you are of the impatient type (Yes Pitta, I am talking to YOU) you can also just mix all the toppings through the rice instead of making neat rows of them on the rice.

imageFinally this dish is a great example of a meal that consists of all 6 tastes. The sweet taste of the rice, nuts and raisins. The astringent taste of the cranberries. The slightly bitter taste of the saffron and the spicy tastes of black pepper and the other aromatic spices. The only missing taste would be the sour taste, but I served mine with the aubergine that were covered with a spicy yoghurt sauce. You could easily serve a small bowl of yoghurt on the side of the pilaf, which is totally acceptible Persian way of doing things any way.

imageBecause of the rich flavours  and the generous amount of ghee used this dish is best suited for Vata and Pitta. Those with a Pitta imbalance can substitute the nuts with roasted seeds instead or just leave them out of the dish. And those with a Vata imbalance can leave out the cranberries. I hope you enjoy this piece of art and wish for you that just the eating of it will have you feeling as rich as any Goddess.

imageJewelled rice

Based on a recipe by Sally Butcher from the cookbook Veggiestan

For 4 persons

  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 300 grams basmati rice
  • 600 ml boiled water
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • about 10 to 15 saffron strands, soaked in a tiny bit of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder, 1/4 teaspoon cardemom powder, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon crushed dried rose petals mixed together well (the rose petals are optional)
  • 25 grams peeled and sliced or chopped pistache nuts
  • 25 grams slivered almonds
  • 50 grams dried and soaked cranberries
  • 50 grams raisins, soaked
  • 2 tablespoons of ghee for frying
  • 1 big red onion in very thin slices
  • 1 medium carrot cut up in thin sticks (I use my trusted Japanese mandoline to make quick work of this job)
  • zest of half an organic orange
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • sprinkle of rose water (optional)
  • edible gold leaf (optional)
  • rose petals (optional)

Start with the rice by rinsing it in a sieve under cold water until the water that it releases becomes clear. Drain the rice really well. In a medium sized pan heat the one tablespoon of ghee. Add the rice and stir well until all rice kernels are coated with a bit of ghee. Be careful cause if your rice is still wet it will splutter when you add it to the hot ghee. Now pour over the boiled water and bring the whole thing to the boil. Add 3/4 of a teaspoon of himalaya salt, stir this through. Now lower the heat to its lowest setting, put a fitting lid on top of the pan (for best results cover the lid with a clean tea towel. This will absorb extra steam and ensure that your rice has seperate kernels.) and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, pour over the saffron with soaking liquid and the spice mix and gently mix with a fork. Close the pan and leave to steam until you are done with the rest of the preparations.

Dry roast the pistache and almonds seperately in a moderately hot pan until slightly toasted. Set aside. Add 1 tablespoon of ghee to the pan and fry the onion slices on a low heat until they are done and just start to get crispy. Remove from the pan and set aside. Wipe the pan clean with kitchen paper and add another tablespoon of ghee. Fry the carrot sticks in this for about 5 to 8 minutes until they have started to wilt.Than add the maple syrup and cook for another minute or so. Season well with salt and pepper and mix the orange zest through the carrots off the heat. Set aside.

Scoop the rice in a bowl and turn this upside down on a pretty serving platter. Now arrange the “jewels” on top to your liking. Alternatively mix all the jewels through the rice and serve in a pretty serving bowl. Sprinkle over a tiny bit of rose water and garnish with edible gold leaves and rose petals.

Nederlands recept


Gebaseerd op een recept van Sally Butcher uit het kookboek  Veggiestan

Voor 4 personen

  • 1 eetlepel ghee
  • 300 gram basmati rijst
  • 600 ml gekookt water
  • 3/4 theelepel himalaya zout
  • tussen de 10 tot 15 saffraan draadjes, geweekt in een heel klein beetje water
  • 1/2 theelepel kaneelpoeder, 1/4 theelepel kardemompoeder, 1/4 theelepel nootmuskaat en 1/4 theelepel vermalen gedroogde rozenblaadjes (de rozenblaadjes zijn optioneel)
  • 25 gram gedopte fijngehakte pistachenoten
  • 25 gram amandelschilfers
  • 50 gram gedroogde en geweekte cranberries
  • 50 gram geweekte rozijnen
  • 2 eetlepels ghee om in te bakken
  • 1 grote rode ui in dunne ringen
  • 1 medium wortel in dunne staafjes gesneden(Ik gebruik daar mijn trouwe Japanese mandoline voor.)
  • rasp van een halve biologische sinaasappel
  • 1/2 tot 1 theelepel maple syrup
  • rozenwater (optioneel)
  • eetbaar goudblad (optioneel)
  • rozenblaadjes

Begin met de rijst door die in een zeef onder koud stromend water te wassen tot het water helder is geworden.  Laat de rijst heel goed uitlekken. Verhit in een medium pan 1 eetlepel ghee en bak daar de rijstkorrels in zodat ze allemaal met een laagje ghee zijn bedekt. Voeg dan het kokend water toe en breng het geheel aan de kook. Pas op , want als je rijstkorrels nog nat zijn zullen ze gaan spatten wanneer ze in aanraking komen met de hete ghee. Voeg 3/4 theelepel himalaya zout toe en draai het vuur op de laagste stand. Doe een deksel op de pan. De traditonele Perzische manier is om een droge schone theedoek om het deksel van de pan te wikkelen. Dit vangt de extra stoom in de pan op waardoor je mooie losse rijstkorrels krijgt. Kook de rijst in 20 minuten gaar. Haal dan van het vuur en voeg de geweekte saffraan inclusief weekvocht toe. Voeg hier de specerijen bij en meng voorzichtig door met een vork. Doe het deksel weer op de pan en laat de rijst nastomen terwijl je de rest van je voorbereidingen  treft.

Rooster de pistache en amandelen los van elkaar in een droge medium hete koekenpan tot ze goudbruin zijn. Hou apart. Voeg dan 1 eetlepel ghee toe aan de pan en bak op laag vuur tot ze goudbruin en net knapperig zijn. Schep de gekookte uien in een kom en veeg de pan schoon met wat keukenpapier. Bak nu de wortelreepjes in 5 tot 8 minuten op medium vuur tot ze zacht zijn geworden. Laat ze niet bruin worden. Voeg tot slot de maple syrup en flink zout en peper toe. Haal van het vuur en meng er de sinaasappelschil door. Hou apart.

Schep de rijst in een kom en druk goed aan. Keer om op een serveerschaal en garneer de “sieraden” er overeen. Je kunt ook alle “sieraden” door de rijst mengen en de rijst in een mooie kom serveren. Besprenkel desgewenst met een heel klein beetje rozenwater en garneer met eetbaar bladgoud en rozenblaadjes.








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