Friday, November 9, 2012

Saffron Rice from an Edible Mosaic

Saffron Rice, Golden Raisins, Pistacios, An Edible Mosaic

Have I mentioned how much I love cookbooks?  With my book shelves currently bowing under the weight of my ever growing collection, I've been known to pull a volume down and drift through page after ingredient filled page as I while away a chilly evening by the fire.  The dream of actually having my own name on a cookbook filled with my photos and recipes is probably one that many of my food blogger friends and I have shared, but today, one of my talented friends is actually living this dream.

Just 3 days ago, Faith Grosky had the pleasure of releasing her first cookbook - An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair, and Liv Life had the pleasure of reviewing one of her recipes, which we share below.  In the book, Faith focuses mainly on dishes from Levant (according to Wikipedia: "Levant is the crossroads of western Asia, the eastern Mediterranean and northeast Africa"), however other areas of the Middle East are covered as well.  The book is available through the Amazon link above or additionally at Barnes and Noble.

Faith gained a love of Middle Eastern cooking after getting married and living in the Middle East.  With lessons from her Mother in Law, Sahar, Faith brings over 100 authentic Middle Eastern recipes which have been streamlined for those of us with not so authentic Middle Eastern roots.  In addition, she helps demystify some of the traditional ingredients and cooking techniques.

Jar of Saffron
While I haven't had a chance to actually get my hands on the book yet, the Saffron Rice recipe Faith shared with us has made an appearance twice this week in our kitchen.  Flavorful and easy to get on the table, the rice appealed to the whole family, hence requiring a second batch in just a few days.

And today, Faith is hosting a Virtual Launch Party where you can follow other food bloggers and their reviews of Faith's recipe as well as participate in what I hear is a pretty darn fantastic giveaway featuring all kinds of goodies.

Our biggest congratulations to you Faith!  May you continue living the dream...

Saffron Rice, Golden Raisins, Pistacios, An Edible Mosaic

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)

Soak the rice in tepid water for 10 minutes; drain. While the rice is soaking, put half a kettle of water on to boil.
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.

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.

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.

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.

Liv Life's version of Faith's Saffron Rice
As time on our busy school night became limited, I made a few adjustments to get us out the door, and with the kids not loving pine nuts, pistachios were used in place of them.

Saffron Rice with Raisins and Pistachios, from An Edible Mosaic
Filled with all kinds of goodies, this rice is an all around winner!
1 cup basmati rice, rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup onion, finely diced
1/4 cup sultanas (golden raisins)
2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt (salt to taste... we sometimes go too light for others)
½ teaspoon saffron threads, crushed

Toasted Pine Nuts (we get our toasted pine nuts from Trader Joe's)
Chopped Pistachios 

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the rinsed rice, stirring for about a minute.  Add the water, golden raisins, salt and crushed saffron.  Stir.   Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low.

Cook until rice is done and fluff with a fork.  Serve with a sprinkle of toasted pine nuts and pistachios.   


  1. Rice was a mainstay at our house while I was growing up so it's pure comfort food to me. This looks amazing. I can't imagine the burst of sweet from raisins with the onions and the nuts. Wow. No wonder it made a repeat performance!

  2. I am absolutely thrilled that you and your family have been enjoying this dish! A HUGE thank-you to you for participating...truly means the world to me! xo

  3. Great job on the delicious dish! Your version looks absolutely delightful and I was thrilled with the way the recipe turned out. Glad to see you participated in Faith's cookbook party!

  4. Hi - I'm so glad that Faith's book launch brought me back to your site, it's been a while. You sure did justice to her awesome recipe! Great pics!

    I see you used Trader Joe's saffron, so did I, come by my site and see the price comparison with WF. You'll be shocked.

  5. Beautiful photos of your saffron rice dish Kim! We loved this recipe and will make again- it works great to double the recipe for a big group;-)

  6. Beautiful shots of the rice!! I am loving hopping from blog to blog to see how we all photographed the same what you've done!

  7. Your rice looks great! I love that you used pistachios! I used almonds and they turned out delicious too :)

  8. This rice looks wonderful, great pictures. I have heard so much about this book, I need to add it to my wish list.

  9. I have tried Faith's saffron rice dish too. I must say it's really good, especially served with curry. Faith is just such a wonderful cook. Love her recipes.

  10. This looks so delicious! I love eating pilaf rice like this! This must be really good with any curries! Just beautiful!

  11. beautifully written... and I have a similar shelf (who am I kidding, MULTIPLE shelves!) of cookbooks here. I love to read them!

    we loved this rice too - such a great recipe, and I love your substitutions!

  12. Nice write up on Faith's book, Kim. I really liked the rice, too, and your variation with pistachios sounds like a winner to me, too. :)

  13. Kim, What a wonderful review of your friend's book and the homage to Faith's saffron rice recipe is equally as lovely! Your swap-out of pine nuts to pistachios is spot on as a compromise to get the kids on board. I've been guilty of thumbing through recipe books beside a crackling fire, and yes, how thrilling it would be see your name on the spine of a hardcover one day! Keep plugging away...

  14. You can never have too many cookbooks, your rice looks sensational!

  15. Hearing so many good things about this cookbook and I love this rice. It looks and sounds beautiful!

  16. Beautiful Saffron rice! I do buy saffron from Trader Joe's too. It's really reasonable price (compared to other stores I used to buy from). I've seen this post everywhere and I'm inspired to cook this rice!


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