As Savoir Flair reported earlier this year, turmeric is the ingredient du jour, with people around the world sprinkling this magic gold dust on their morning smoothies and chai lattes. Long before the hype, however, turmeric was added to rice dishes in India, Pakistan, and the Middle East for its health benefits and the beautiful canary-toned hue that it adds.
Building on tradition, this simple yet stunning recipe for jeweled rice features layers of aromatics and spices that complement each other beautifully. And with additions such as sparkling pomegranate seeds, fresh herbs, and caramelized onions, this rice dish is a feast for both the eyes and the palate. Serve it with your favorite roast chicken or just enjoy it with a dollop of tzatziki – either way, you’re sure to return for seconds.
- 1½ cups basmati rice
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 5 shallots, finely sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp ground turmeric
- 2 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp dried mint
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 6 cardamom pods
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ tsp whole pink peppercorns
- 4 cloves
- 1 tbsp orange zest
- Pinch of saffron (about ½ tsp of threads)
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- ¼ cup fresh coriander, chopped
- ¼ cup fresh oregano, chopped
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- Pomegranate seeds, for garnish
- Pistachios, chopped for garnish
- 3 cups water
- 1 onion, finely sliced
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- ½ tsp salt
Begin by soaking the rice in a large bowl of water for one hour. In the meantime, prepare the caramelized onion.
Combine the onion, olive oil, brown sugar, and salt in a pan on medium-low heat. Cook slowly (stirring often and scraping the pan) until golden and caramelized, or about 20 minutes.
After one hour, drain the rice and set aside. In a large pot on medium heat, melt the butter with the olive oil, adding in the shallots and garlic. Let the shallots and garlic caramelize for about four to five minutes.
Next, add in all of the spices and aromatics, and mix. Let the heat absorb the spices for about one minute. Add in the parsley, coriander, oregano, and dried cranberries, letting it cook for another two minutes.
Add in the drained rice with three cups of water and bring to a boil. Once the liquid is boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and put a lid on the pot to let it cook until all the water has been absorbed. Shut the heat off and let the rice sit on the stovetop, covered, for ten minutes in order to steam perfectly.
To serve, pour the rice out onto a large platter, piled high, and generously garnish with caramelized onions, pomegranate seeds, chopped pistachios, chopped fresh parsley, and chopped fresh coriander.
Noreen Wasti is the creator of Noni’s Place, a food and lifestyle website.