Monday, May 6, 2013

Saffron Rice Pilaf

Continuing with our dinners paying tribute to middle-eastern cuisine, Architect made Saffron Rice Pilaf with Chicken Kabobs.

Saffron is a colorful spice plucked from the flower of the saffron crocus. Saffron is from the Arab word for yellow, zafaran, and yellow symbolized joy for the Arabs.  Pharaohs and kings believed that saffron was an aphrodisiac, and when the expected results were futile, saffron’s fever reducing and nerve calming medicinal benefits remained.

This dish is made with delicious basmati rice complemented by equally delicious and always pleasing caramelized onions.

Saffron Rice Pilaf

¾ teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
2 tablespoon boiling-hot water
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup slivered almonds
1 very large onion, chopped
1 ½ cup of basmati rice
2 ¼ cups of water
1 ½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 cup of dried currents, raisins or cranberries

Soften saffron in hot water in a small bowl. Heat oil in a 5-quart heavy pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers.  Fry almonds, stirring frequently until golden, about 3 minutes.  Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to train.  Fry onion in remaining oil in pot, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 15-20 minutes.  Transfer half of onions to a bowl. 
Add rice to onion in pot and sauté, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Add water, saffron mixture, salt, pepper and bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, until water is absorbed and rice is tender, 18-20 minutes.  Let rice stand, off heat, for 5 minutes.  While rice stands, stir almonds and fruit into bowl with the reserved onion.  Fluff rice with a fork and serve with almond mixture spooned on top. 

Architect served the pilaf topped with barbequed chicken and onion kabobs.   Foodie made a salad from The Jerusalem cookbook, Baby Spinach Salad with Dates, Almonds & Pita Bits. Life. Is. Good.

No comments: