Jeweled Brown Basmati Rice and Quinoa (Morassa Polo)
Wonderfully fresh and delightful recipes are found in Louisa Shafia’s latest cookbook, The New Persian Kitchen. Beautiful colors, intense flavors and nutritious ingredients are found in all the dishes.
- 1 cup brown basmati rice, soaked in cold water for 1 hour
- 1 1/2 cups quinoa, soaked in cold water for 1 hour
- 5 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- Sea salt
- 4 cups water, boiling
- 2 tablespoons butter or unrefined coconut oil, at room temperature
- 1 large yellow onion, minced
- 1/2 cup barberries, soaked in warm water for 1/2 hour and drained
- 1 cup minced dried apricots
- 1 tablespoon dried rose petals or dried whole rosebuds pulled apart and stems removed, plus extra for garnish
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 cup pistachios, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup slivered blanched almonds, lightly toasted
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron, ground and steeped in 1 tablespoon hot water
- Pomegranate seeds, for garnish (optional)
Drain the rice and quinoa and rinse under cold water. (Try making tahdig! Bring a large pot three-quarters full of salted water to a boil, and follow the instructions starting on page 128 for making one of four styles of tahdig. Rejoin this recipe in the next to last paragraph, and mix the dried fruit, nuts, rose petals, and spices with the rice and quinoa just as if you’ve been following this recipe all along. Good luck!)
Heat a medium size stockpot over low heat and add the rice and quinoa, 2 tablespoons of the oil, and a pinch of salt. Sauté the grains, stirring often to prevent sticking for about 5 minutes until dry and fragrant. Add the boiling water and return to a boil; turn down the heat to very low and cook, covered, for 40 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the grains rest for 10 minutes, then toss in the butter and fluff with a fork.
While the grains cook, heat a large skillet over medium heat and sauté the onion in the remaining 3 tablespoons oil for about 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the barberries, apricots, rose petals, cumin, cinnamon, and cardamom. Cook for about 5 minutes, until heated through. Reserve half of the pistachios and almonds for garnish, and add the rest of the nuts to the skillet. Season with salt, and remove from the heat.
In a large bowl, toss the fruit and nuts with the grains and drizzle in the saffron. Season with salt. Garnish with the remaining nuts, a few rose petals, and the pomegranate seeds.