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Pistachio and Pomegranate Rice

Pistachio and Pomegranate Rice recipe

Photograph by Andrew Meade.

The holidays are upon us once again! It’s a joyful time, but it can also be hectic, between work, parties, gift purchasing and getting the house ready for the arrival of family and friends. Finding a way to master the holidays has become a goal of mine. A golden rule, especially when it comes to food and drink, is to keep it simple and rely on easy and smart recipes that have lots of bang for little buck and time. Make-ahead recipes are the only way to go.

This Jewel Rice recipe is a crowd-pleaser and a very easy take on a Persian classic. Through playing and testing many versions, I finally came to the best method that tastes absolutely delicious. It’s so easy that even your children could make this on their own. But don't be fooled by the ease: I promise you this will become a staple in your home. I have also made it with brown rice and with quinoa to change it up, but white rice will always be the ultimate comfort food for me.

I wish you all a very happy and delicious holiday. Buen provecho y salud.

Pistachios & Pomegranate Rice

Serves 6

2 cups basmati rice
1½ cups of water + 2 tablespoons
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
¾ teaspoon salt
2 cups pistachios, shelled
1 cup raisins
1/8 teaspoon saffron powder
1 tablespoon orange zest, grated
1 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1 cup pomegranate seeds


1. Place the rice in a large saucepan with the 1½ cups of water, 2 tablespoons oil, and salt. Bring to a boil, uncovered, and cook until you see holes forming on the surface that tunnel down into the rice, about 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cover the saucepan. Cook for 20 minutes, then fluff and set aside.

2. In a small sauté pan, over medium-high heat, sauté the pistachios and the raisins in the remaining oil. Cook for a total of 4 minutes, mixing often. Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of boiling water and the saffron. Let stand for 1 minute. Add ½ of the white rice to this bowl and coat it well with the saffron water. Let stand for 1 minute.

4. In a large bowl, mix the white rice, pistachio, raisins, orange zest, cilantro and the yellow rice.

5. Serve on a platter and garnish with the pomegranate seeds.

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