>> Sunday, March 14, 2010
Level of Difficulty: moderate
Pots/Pans Used: surprisingly, only 2!
2 cups basmati rice
2 cup carrots, shredded
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup orange skin, sliced
1/2 cup unsalted pistachio, slivered
1/2 cup slivered almonds
3 TBL agave nectar
½ teaspoon powdered saffron
5 TBL olive oil
3 TBL salt
Dash of cinnamon
Right now is a very special time for my room mate, Rana Falahat, because it is the Iranian new year, "Haft Seen". In preparation for the new year, she was kind enough to make this dish for my mom and I last weekend. It was sooooo delicious that I had to tell you all about it! My absolute favorite part is the orange peel. Seriously, it's amazing! She served it with an awesome vegetable soup and crisp potatoes. It was my first time eating Iranian food, but it definitely won't be my last. Believe it or not, this was one of Rana's first recipe attempts. Without a doubt, it was a HUGE success. It is somewhat time consuming, but if you have the time to spare and feel like experimenting with a new cuisine, this recipe isn't really that difficult at all. Also, I know that saffron can be expensive so I'm sure this meal would still be good if you decide to leave it out. Lemme know how it goes...
You can prepare the rice however you want, but I’m just going to include the way Rana did it. She washed the rice a few times then soaked it in four cups of water with the salt for 2 hours. If you prefer a faster method, by all means, go for it.
Start by preparing your orange slices (my favorite). Peel the orange skin and remove the white layer and cut into slivers. In a small sauce pot, place the orange slivers with a cup of water and boil for 5 minutes. Then, drain.
In a saute pan, add 2 TBL oil and saute the cranberries for a couple minutes. Then saute the carrots for a couple minutes, and then add the orange slivers, pistachio and almonds. Add the agave nectar to the pan with 1 cup of water and cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Next, add the liquid saffron (powdered saffron dissolved in 2 TBL hot water) and cinnamon.
In a large non-stick stock pot, bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Drain the rice and pour into the rapidly boiling water and let boil for 10 minutes. According to Rana, “the rice should be soft on the outside, but still firm in the center.” Strain and rinse again with cool water. Return the pot to the heat with 3 TBL oil and put slices of potato on the bottom of the pot. This prevents the rice from sticking and burning to the bottom and you’re left with deliciously crispy potatoes at the end! mmm. Then add the rice into the pot. Make 2-3 holes in the rice to release some steam. Cover and cook for 10 minutes over medium-high heat. Once steaming, lower heat and steam rice for an additional 50 minutes.
The way Rana served this dish was by putting a layer of plain rice in the bottom of a casserole dish, then mixing some rice with saffron and putting the saffron rice as the top layer. Then she poured the delicious mixture on top. I know it sounds like a lot of work, but let me tell you, the results are well worth it.